Friday, January 27, 2012

My Life is An Oprah Episode - Figuring It All Out

Happy New Year!  I know it's been a little while since I last blogged, but, I am getting my groove, seemingly on strike, back.  I could say it is an intellectual interlude, however, there may be some disagreements to that sentiment.  I would also like to say I've been on a spiritual journey, reassessing my life and reflecting on the past year ready to move ahead.  Yeah, I'd like to say all that, but, that would pretty much be bull s***.  Like everyone else, I'm just trying to figure it all out.

@Alec Baldwin.....I totally get why you did not turn off your phone, as I too, have become addicted to Words With Friends.  Is there a twelve-step program in my future?  I started playing around Thanksgiving.  At first I was playing the game as I used to play Scrabble; identifying words I really did know the meaning of and rarely using a dictionary.  Now, I place letters on the board and wait for the word to be accepted or not.  That in itself has become a whole new game for me.  Usually, I have between eight and eleven games going at one time, and more than one with the same person.  Because I have so much time during the day, I have my ipad app downloaded, have the notification sound on; I'm ready all the time.  You know how it is said that when girlfriends spend a lot of time together they all get on the same cycle, well, no matter how many "friends" I am playing with, for the past few weeks, everyone has signed on and started playing with me almost at the same time.  It's quite funny.  I won't hear from anyone nearly all day long, then suddenly, I'll get notifications from four people within minutes of each other.  Most of them are in different time zones, some men, some women.  Funny.  

So, I started thinking, is playing this game sort of a metaphor for my life?  And, how many games do we all play?  What I discovered while playing Words With Friends is that I forgot how competitive I can be.  I hate to lose.  Or, do I hate for the other person to win?  Always a gracious loser in any sport I've played, this game is more about working with the hand you're dealt.  Again, metaphor. 

I don't know anyone who does not play games.  Life games. 

When I worked for American Express I was at the height of my "game".  Being in sales was a great deal of fun and I had a lot of success -- for a while--.  I would often be having conversations with friends and laughing when speaking about my job and how I was always "on".  I called it playing Corporate World.  Imagine my regular gig of doing sales presentations, selling their products, always impeccably, professionally dressed in my "amexblue" suit, usually an Ann Taylor or Ralph Lauren thing.  When I finished the meeting or presentation, I could read the body language of my audience and know, within 95% accuracy,  if the sale was going to close.  Why? How?  My best game was there.  When the markets changed, so did the game, so what worked before wasn't working anymore.  Game ended.  So did my wardrobe.

Is there a tougher game to play than in relationships?  I do not think so.  Boy, this man/woman thing. Or, man/man or woman/woman thing.  I bet if we all put a nickel in a jar for each time we have said we are looking for a relationship with someone that does not play any games, we could support a Third World Country.  That's hysterical to me.  We may not mean to do it, but, we play.  And, in most cases, the stakes are high.  Yet, so many people are afraid to risk, so the game played is that we take a time out, or give ourselves a penalty.  Remind yourself of when you were attracted to someone and never let them know, always expecting them to read your mind.  Or, better still, assume you can read someone's mind and know what they are thinking.  I have learned, finally, not to do that.  I draw conclusions based on actions.  Or, based on non-actions.  It's still a game, after all.

Finally, the games we play with ourselves.  C'mon....we do this.  You know how we all have those days when everything goes so well, you think the stars are finally aligned in your favor; you smile all day and all your relationships are clearly defined. No. Me neither. Let the games begin!  Freud had the original model for it, but, we can take it to a new level.  Yeah, it's about the ego.  Hide our feelings, pretend we don't feel things, show our feelings, manipulate others to feel things...it's all there on a daily basis.  It's our dress code.

My resolution this year is to follow my heart.  Which for me, means, trying hard not to play any games (except the really fun ones!)  I resolve to be open and honest, take some risks, even if it means doing something I later think was foolish. " Better a fool for five minutes by saying something, rather than a fool for life by not."  Sorry, I don't remember who said that, and I am probably paraphrasing as well.  But, the idea is not to have any regrets.  We all know that life is short, we all say that, all the time.  Let's just try to live everyday as if we really believe it.

Best wishes,  everyone.  Take care of yourselves, inside and out.