Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Game of Life

I'm stealing some time to sit and write today. Sabra has a friend over, Isla is sleeping, and the laundry pile should have my attention. Alas, I give it to you, dear sweet computer. (You complete me....and keep me from having those 'no-no' rages that the doctor says need to be kept under control.)

What should I write? Should I regale you with the tales of my family and their recent decent into food anarchy? Perhaps I could talk about the immigration issues in my land of yore. Austin and I both lost a grandparent this month, and that definitely deserves some blogtime.

Instead, I'm wondering why I haven't had the time to write about the above issues sooner than now. And I'm instantly telling myself that 'life' happened.

What does that mean? I hear it from friends when I complain and ask why I haven't finished school yet or fit back into my lovely size 4 jeans that TAUNT ME with their cuteness. They tell me that it is 'just life' and I shouldn't get too worked up about it. After all, they say, you shouldn't be a slave to guilt....just enjoy life!

As always, life gets away from us. Or, life happens to us. Life just isn't what it I thought it would be. Life is for the birds, life is what life does, life is a ride, life is a journey, life is a dance.


It seems as though the ubiquitous term needs a little clarification. Otherwise, I should stop insisting that 'life' itself is responsible for my life's interruptions.

I used to go to Kentucky quite a bit as a kid. My grandparents lived there in a town you might have heard of, Middle Of Nowhere. It is across the pond from Gets No Television Reception and in the county of Play Board Games For Fun. (Author has an aha! moment as she realizes why she hates board games. Hmm.) Well, we only had some old board games and Archie comics from the 1960's to keep us entertained after the sun went down. Me, my sister and cousin, and a big stack of Jughead and Bettie.

But when the comics had been read, there was Masterpiece, Trouble, Scrabble, and Life. I HATED THE GAME OF LIFE. I would go to bed early or take another bath or make up scary stories about the abandoned house in the backyard. (Which is still scary to this day. We checked last week.) The game of Life was so dull! What if I didn't want a car and little pink pegs for children? What if I wanted to not visit those white plastic buildings? I just wanted to drive around, and that was supposed to fall under the 'losing' category. Ugh. I hate board games.

I don't want to do the typical, 'here's what the dictionary says'. But let's just use it as a springboard. When you type define: life into google, you get the following. I've inserted my own thoughts, because that's what I'm here for.

•a characteristic state or mode of living; "social life"; "city life"; "real life"
Hmmm. Not helpful in this context.

•the experience of being alive; the course of human events and activities; "he could no longer cope with the complexities of life"
Ooooh. Yep, this is important. The experience of being alive! This sounds rather exciting. However, the experience of being alive would indicate...anything that suggests life. Pain, dirt, frustration, and fear indicate life insofar as they relate to the whole life experience. We like the idea of experiencing life, because I think society as a whole tends to equate 'life' in this context as the joy of breaking through monotony and really doing something (whatever that means)

•the course of existence of an individual; the actions and events that occur in living; "he hoped for a new life in Australia"; "he wanted to live his own life without interference from others"
The course of existence is subtly different from the experience of being alive. We can exist without necessarily experiencing existence. Obviously, someone in a vegetative state would fall somewhat under this category (though science is still too limited to tell us what the life of the mind can let us experience) but I know people who breathe and chew and pee and walk, and they are hardly aware of these things, let alone that ever present 'bigger picture'.

•animation: the condition of living or the state of being alive; "while there's life there's hope"; "life depends on many chemical and physical processes"
Well...I could get all kinds of philosophical on you. My dad made us philosophize at the tender age of six (and surely sooner, though I have blocked it) and so it is a very core part of my being to think of things in terms of their philosophical category and usefulness. Instead, I am thinking of that example sentence that says 'life depends on processes'. It is interesting (read: insanely infuriating) that people often say that they don't want to rely on pills or medicines or liquids or powders in order to 'get through life'. I understand what they are saying. Many people don't want to rely on a cup of coffee to wake them up, because that means their state of wakefulness is reliant upon a mere beverage. No, they would like to be in charge of their own abilities. However, it is interesting (read: actually interesting) that our bodies are a chain of chemical and physical commands and posts and processes. I can take the heart medicine. I can reject the heart medicine. In the end, I cannot control my heart. I might prolong my life by taking the pill. I might shorten my life by eating too much crappy food. But there is ultimately a greater force on whom my life, and all life, depends. This doesn't mean that we allow all things to control us. But to be a control freak to the point that you cannot rely on others or things that might help you live a good life is unnecessary. Food for thought.

•the period during which something is functional (as between birth and death); "the battery had a short life"; "he lived a long and happy life"
The lifespan of this blog might not be as long as I would wish. Alas, all things must come to an end.

•the period between birth and the present time; "I have known him all his life"
Life can give us a change, then! I have known him all his life, and he would never have forgotten Mother's Day! Unthinkable! This tells us that life has a turning point, if it is wished.

•the period from the present until death; "he appointed himself emperor for life"
I will hate tree nuts for the rest of my life.

•a living person; "his heroism saved a life"
A drooly living person is sitting in my lap, chewing on a plastic butterfly toy. I hope it doesn't teach said living person to eat bugs.

•liveliness: animation and energy in action or expression; "it was a heavy play and the actors tried in vain to give life to it"
Breath and joy and electricity and carpe diem! Ahhh, once again, the 'life' that we enjoy thinking about. Weird though, as that indicates once again that we see 'life' as existing only when things aren't heavy and boring and monotonous and flat.

•living things collectively; "the oceans are teeming with life"
So are the folds under Isla's plentiful neck. She always smells like Parmesan, even after the shower. Poor baby.

•the organic phenomenon that distinguishes living organisms from nonliving ones; "there is no life on the moon"
WhatEVER. The moon was the Garden of Eden. Everybody knows that. Life just moved on. (WHAAAAT did she just say?! Does she actually think that?) Answer: No, not really. It was in a galaxy far, far away.

•biography: an account of the series of events making up a person's life
I'm listed in someone's biography. Ten points if you know whose it was.

•a motive for living; "pottery was his life"
Writing is mine, even though I don't get to it as often as I would like. But so is Isla's fluffy face.

•life sentence: a prison term lasting as long as the prisoner lives; "he got life for killing the guard"
Must be talking about Tony Sanchez, my fifth grade bully.

Well then. Life is, as we anticipated, multi-faceted and full of indefinable complexities. But it is what it is, it is what I make of it, and it is often not what it is cracked up to be (whatever that means).

I don't always get to write when I would like to. But it isn't because life is happening to me. Life is just...happening. I happen to be here.

Mayhap I'll write tomorrow. The world, after all, needs to hear about my thoughts on time travel.


Kristi said...

Soooo. I really, really like this blog. For oh so many reasons.

mymontecristo said...

An interesting title, cleverly thought out I imagine...