“Mom, You really need to relax when you play video games. You grip the controller so hard and punch buttons so fast when the action begins that you make a lot of mistakes.”
Recently, my son shared this information with me. It was no surprise. I do play like a crazy woman, gripping that controller as if the intensity of my grip will some how keep me from video game harm or total destruction. Maybe I’ve been playing life the same way.
Suddenly, I get a mental flashback of my dad. We’re taking a Sunday drive (which for most people is now a thing of the past due to the price of gas and the increased awareness of the pollution generated by fossil fuels but that’s a different story.) Dad sits gripping the steering wheel. Shoulders hunched forward, jaw set, eyes rapidly scanning the road ahead. Just looking at him is making me tense.
“Dad!” I hear myself say. “Why can’t you relax a little?”
“What?” He says as if I were speaking from a far away place and he is struggling to pin point where I am and who I am.
“What are you talking about? I am relaxed,” he says.
“You don’t look relaxed.” I say.
“What does relaxed look like?” he fires back.
“Well, the opposite of how you look right now.” I say.
“Don’t get smart with me, young lady.” Now, he is irritated. I have poked the bear.
“Never mind.” I say. “Just drive.”
“That’s what I was doing until you pointed out to me that I was doing it wrong.”
“Did I say it was wrong? You just look super uptight is all.”
I don’t want to poke the bear any more. I want to take the sting out of this whole conversation and return to trying not to feel car sick. I have a love/hate relationship with Sunday drives for a whole variety of reasons.
This little movie plays in my head. I am my father’s daughter. Argh! I was trying so hard not to be. Well, at least in the relaxation department. Dad did possess a certain intensity of feeling that I once despised and but now am very grateful that we share that quality. We are and were two different people. There are a lot of things that I have learned to take in stride that would have bothered Dad to no end. I can’t take any credit for that transformation. Life and children have really helped me mellow out about so many things or maybe it’s a by product of some mysterious female hormone. The same one that makes women oohhh and ahhhh over cute little things. . . . babies, puppies. . . .puppies and babies.
Here’s a list of a few things that I used to worry about but no longer really care about at all.
Having a clean house.
Getting somewhere ahead of time.
Cutting coupons out around all the dotted lines.
Acting like an adult
What strangers are thinking
Missing a button
Gray hair. . .my gray hair.
And yet, despite the strides I’ve made in the relaxation or “just-plain-don’t-care department,” I still grip the video game controller like my life. . . my real life. . . depended upon it.
There are the occasional zen-like moments when the game and I are one. I respond to the challenges on the screen with an ease that I rarely experience. These little random moments leave me hungry for more. In my hunger, I try too hard. I grip life too tightly. I take myself too seriously. I act without thinking. I don’t use the right controls.
The more I play, the more often these zen-like moments visit me. The game of life has a way of putting things in perspective. Now all I have to do is get out of my own way and start cooperating. It may be that simple.