I’ve been playing a lot of solitaire lately. It’s an easy, mindless way to kill time now that I don’t have FB to scroll through. I have a free app on my phone and I play whenever I have a free moment.
My solitaire app has a couple useful features, like I can undo a move (or many moves) or replay an entire game at the “push” of a button. So if there are two black sixes I could move onto a red seven, I can move one, see what’s under it, then undo the move and choose the other one to see what’s under it, using the information from both moves to ultimately decide which six to play. And if I can’t complete the game, I can go back and replay it, changing any move, or series of moves, to see if I can actually win.
A lot of times you can tell which card to move based on what is underneath, but sometimes you can’t. And sometimes one move seems obvious, but then later if you can’t win and you replay, you learn that the other move actually allows you to win the game, despite the unimpressive returns in the moment.
And of course sometimes, no matter how many times you replay the game, you end up stuck, unable to win.
I’ve been thinking a lot about solitaire lately, and how it doesn’t matter how “good” you are at the game, sometimes the cards have been dealt in such a way as to ensure your eventual failure. And sometimes every card you move reveals another card you need and the game is over in two minutes and 121 moves.
Life is a lot like that. Some people are dealt a really shitty hand and all they can do is get as far as possible and then just live out the rest of their life, cycling through their options, even though they know they can’t play any of the cards. And some people are dealt a fantastic hand, and they end up successful without even trying.
Of course, in real life you can’t press “undo,” and most of the time you don’t get to see what was under the other card. When you get stuck, you can’t replay the game, making the other possible choices. You can never know if moving the other card would have allowed you to win the game.
It’s just something I’ve been thinking about, as I move ever farther into the game of my own life. I wonder sometimes if there are moves I’m missing, cards I’m forgetting to play. In the end will I look back and feel like I’ve completed the game? Or will I wish I could replay my hand in the hopes of ending up with a different outcome?
I suppose only time will tell. Maybe I shouldn’t spend so much of it playing solitaire.