Live and let go

Maria Nann

My little brother loves The Game Of Life.

Now, my little brother loves board games in general, but where would the philosophical meaning lie in an opening that read: “My little brother loves Monopoly”?

No, there’s something special about The Game Of Life.

It could just be the little “life” tokens that grant players oodles of money at the end of each game, or maybe the all-too-realistic pale-colored minivans that allow players to have eight pinhead-sized blue and pink plastic children. Still, there is something about The Game Of Life that just brings people together.

My brother loves it, and my family loves playing it with him. At 10 years old, he’s better at math than I am and likes to spell words for fun. He has an amazing mind and it’s incredible to watch him strategize – for that is truly what he does – and maneuver his way through the game, calculating every space, every decision. He takes it so seriously. He’s in it to win. And when he doesn’t? Look out.

Few things upset a calm, board game family dynamic more than the baby brother losing a game. No small amounts of tears have been shed over another family member’s last-minute stroke of dumb luck, altering the course of the game and ultimately our family.

My brother carries on and on until someone gets in trouble.

We try to reason with him, explaining that it’s just a game and nothing to be taken too seriously. Those two tiny, powder blue bundles of plastic in his minuscule minivan don’t seal his fate, and just because he drew the “split level” house, it doesn’t signify or foreshadow anything for real life. Calm down, we tell him, and just enjoy the game.

It’s easier said than done, though, right? I mean, we’re college students. These years are our initiation into life, and we’re all struggling with different aspects of it. We juggle school, jobs, internships and apprenticeships, financial troubles, social circles, free time, creative outlets and the forgotten essentials – sustenance and sleep.

And it’s hard juggling more than we can handle and still feeling like a clown. We get mad and say and do stupid things. We get sad and lock ourselves in our rooms and cry. We get scared and hide from problems instead of facing and fixing them.

But at the end of the day, isn’t that all it is – one day?

Maybe it’s okay to drop the ball every once in a while. Maybe we don’t have to get everything right the first time. Maybe we (like my brother) take the game of life a little too seriously at times.

And maybe – just maybe – we don’t have to.

Maria Nann is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].