Day 162: Play

I have been away from home for almost a week now–and I think I’m just about ready to get back to Atlanta. Part of the problem is that “home” is a little bit up in the air right now. Sure, I have plenty of roots up here in Massachusetts, and plenty of family, but I have not lived up here for more than two decades. Atlanta is still ostensibly my home, but increasingly more and more of that home is packed away in boxes. And of course, we can’t quite yet call North Carolina our home, not for another month. So in many ways, I really feel I am between worlds.

But I can’t get too caught up in feeling “in between” right now. If I do so, I run the risk of losing sight of where I am right now and what I’m doing right now. The truth is: these trips up to Massachusetts to see my folks are somewhat rare, and as they get older, ultimately limited in number. The same is true with visits to my sister and her family, especially while her kids and my kids are young. I would hate to miss out on this experience right here, right now because I am being pulled in too many other directions.

So tonight, my mother brought lobsters home to my sister’s house. They were on sale, and fresh, and wonderfully delicious. After dinner, my nephews wanted to play a game called “Guggenheim.” I asked them if it had something to do with the art museum: Nope. Nor did the game have anything to do with the Foundation or the businessman/philanthropist. My sister explained:

“Actually, we can’t remember what the game is really called. We’ve been calling it Guggenheim for years.”

Sure, why not.

The game rules were simple enough and fluid enough to make it a silly and fun game. It didn’t take us too long to be laughing pretty loudly, even if we weren’t necessarily playing the game (whatever its name) exactly the right way.

So what does all of this have to do with living simply?

I’m not entirely sure–perhaps it’s about being in the flow or coasting within the moment. But a little play is a great way to force me into the present.

And I don’t just mean “play” as in “playing a game.” Play can also mean give-and-take: a little wiggle in the system….

Which got me thinking: if I am “between worlds,” maybe what I really need is just a little wiggle room.

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2 Responses to Day 162: Play

  1. Jen says:

    How do you play Guggenheim?

    • Mark says:

      I think it’s kind of like Scattergories, but I’ve never played that game. Everyone gets a piece of paper with a 5×5 grid drawn on it. The columns are labeled with letters from a five-letter word–one letter for each column. The rows are categories. We had “PRISM” across the top of the page and categories like “Diseases” and “Pizza Toppings” for the rows. Everyone has five minutes (or more…) to come up with words in each category row starting with the letter in each column. You get more points for unique answers, and fewer points if other players came up with the same word. You can also vote to exclude questionable entries (we allowed “pneumonia” as a disease, even though my father insisted it was an infection, but we all agreed “insects” was not a valid pizza topping). That’s it, in a nutshell–though the play is more fun than the rules make it sound!

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