Spider Solitaire is Life

One initial layout in the game of Spider.

One initial layout in the game of Spider. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you guys remember spider solitaire?

Is that a stupid question?

I remember spider solitaire fondly from elementary school computer class (that may or may not have “dated” me a little bit) – it was one of the first versions of windows (ok, if that first comment didn’t date me, this one sure did. It took me out for dinner and even bought me dessert. Strawberry cheesecake. My favourite. Yum….)

Mooooving on. I discovered that Spider Solitaire does still exist (I don’t know why I thought it didn’t. Guess I just stopped having time for computerized card games at some point between elementary school and now). I downloaded an app on my phone and it’s my go-to game for transit and waiting rooms.

But none of this is the point of my post.

Spider Solitaire has made me realize a few things about life… in the sense that spider solitaire is like life. Here’s why…

You need to come at things sideways sometimes.

So I’m stuck… I have one empty slot and every other pile is a mess of reds and blacks in varying permutations. I’ve tried all of the straightforward approaches (at least twice) and nothing is getting sorted out. What do I do? Turn my phone sideways. Well, not really. I have to look for the more convoluted solutions – the ones where you move two cards here, then switch them with those other two cards and then move the group of cards and THEN fill the blank spot and hope for the best.

This… this is like life. We all keep trying to use the straightforward answers to our problems. The one-step, quick-fix type solutions. But what life really needs are the multi-stepped, long term solutions. Stuck in your career? Come at it sideways – make a move you don’t think will work but will lead you to a place you think will then be a stepping stone to the place you want to be.

I’m not 100% certain any of that made any sense.

No matter how good you think you are….

…. you will never go up to four suits unless you really really really like a challenge. Or pain. 

I’ve never, ever completed a game of four suits. Occasionally I try, just to see if I can. But I usually can’t. So I go back to two suits. It’s like I plateaued at some point and just decided I could never leave my comfort zone (do you guys see where I’m going here?)

The idea of the comfort zone, of staying in the place you know, is so strong in the real world that I see it everywhere. It’s not a bad thing – not by any stretch of the imagination – but it always makes me wonder… how do you know you’re doing your best… that you’re being everything you could possibly be, if you don’t take a chance at the four suits? You never know… you might succeed. And, in my humble opinion, succeeding at four suits would be amazing.

…. there is no guarantee you will win every game without restarting at least once.

Honestly… I can go weeks not restarting a game and then BAM! I’m stuck and at the end of my refresh pile (or whatever the technical term is). Eventually I realize you can only undo for so long… so I restart. And you know what? That’s usually the best thing I can do for that particular game.

No matter how good you are at something, you can get stuck in the middle of it that you can’t see the way out. Sometimes all it takes is just scrapping everything you’ve done (ouch) and starting again. All is not lost! The thing about starting from scratch is that you never really do. You still have all of the information and knowledge you’ve acquired from your first go-around floating around in your brain. And that will help you formulate new ways to approach the problem. The trick is to remember that you’re not infallible nor are you perfect (no one is. And who would want to be?), and your work is a reflection of you…

…. you will probably still give up on some of the games. 

I usually feel bad when I select “New Game” instead of “Restart Game”. I can get very persistent in my need to complete the game. But sometimes you just have to admit defeat. Not every battle is worth fighting.

I’m serious here – not every battle is worth fighting. Not every game is worth winning. Decide for yourself, but you may find that when you let go of something that’s causing you heartache, stress and distraction, your life will significantly improve. It’s really, really hard to give up though – at least it is for me. When I get my mind on success, I hold onto it with everything I’ve got. But that’s not healthy either. I should only strive to succeed at things that are actually important to me, and let any other losses be lessons and laughter to help me with my ultimate goal….

To become a superhero.

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2 responses to “Spider Solitaire is Life

  1. Pingback: How Spider Solitaire is Like Writing | Melanie's Life Online

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