Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life is Not Like a Box of Chocolates!


In "Forrest Gump" Forrest says to the lady 'My mama always told me that life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." I submit that is pure poppycock. If there is one thing that is certain in life, if you have a box of chocolates you're going to get two things: Chocolates, and the little paper holders for each one.

That said, I've been waxing philosophical lately, and after that first thought came to mind, I wondered, 'So what is life like?' A bowl of cherries? By that do you mean it either rots slowly or gets eaten? Is Life a game? And if it is, which game should it be? Some people would have you think it's like 'Monopoly' but that's not true either. In Monopoly everyone starts with the same amount of money. Boy that ain't true to life.

I've played a lot of games in my life, from Age of Conan to Yahtzee! Sometimes I don't have a Clue what I'm doing until I've played the game for a while. Given my personality, Solitaire is as good a game as any, whether played on a computer or with cards. But my life and my personality, though intertwined, are not the same thing.

Recently, I've been playing a computer-based version of Solitaire called 'Spider Solitaire.' I'm not going to get into the details, if you're interested, it's on most versions of Windows. But the gist of it is, you put cards together to make stacks of the same suit. While learning the ropes of this game, I have found that much of it correlates to my life. Here's how:

I've had to type this section several times to get the words right. My computer keyboard with its backspace button allows me to start from scratch and try another way of writing what I'm feeling. Spider Solitaire is like that. You can follow the flow of the cards for a while, realize you made a mistake, and then undo it and start where you made the mistake. The path to victory is filled with redos.

It's all about the path you take. I'm not a believer in destiny, but I am a believer that we make our own way through life. We make mistakes. We can't always correct them like in the game, but when one path doesn't work, we can always try another path. And life has taught me that there is no one right path to a happy life.

Some people find it easy to get on a train with hundreds of others who all follow the same path. Others, like me, see a path before them, see others finding an easy way along the path, but struggle to follow the same path. I had that experience while on the Appalacian Trail. While I struggled to take the path before me, or sometimes to even find the path, others would pass me as if I were standing still, and I often was.

In Spider Solitaire there is no one solution. But if you are patient, and can see where you made the mistakes, you can slowly make your way to victory.

I will continue to scout out a path, sometimes diving in head first, only to come out of the bushes battered and bruised. Sometimes I'll come off the path to find I've gone in a completely different direction than I wanted to, and then I find that the new direction feels better that the old one. Sometimes, I have to backtrack.

The only finality in life is death. Until then, I will take the paths that are offered, or, if none are there, I will make my own path.