Last week I had a conversation about video games. The question was posed “are you into video games Kiki?” I thought about it for a bit and then said “Oh hell yes”. That’s when the memories came flooding back from years gone by and where I am today. The video craze started when I was maybe 7 years old. Atari had introduced “Pong” in 1972. We didn’t have the Atari gaming system in Chez Eastwood. We had the Sears knock off version. That didn’t matter to me. I played our model with fever. My competitive nature reared it’s head early and I would spend lots of time in the basement of 36 Grant Avenue with this game. I tried my hand at Miss Pac-Man when my friends when I would visit the mall but as I was reminded last week, it was game over quickly because 4 games cost a dollar.
The years passed and the video gaming world was exploding. I’m not technical by any means – in fact those who know me know that figuring out the iPhone timer feature when taking a selfie was considered a HUGE feat for me. Sometime in the early 90s we purchased a Nintendo 64 system. The game Tetris became my best friend. Ernie worked nights at the time. He would leave for work at 3:30 and I’d arrive home at 4:30. Jake and Julia had not yet busted onto the scene so I had plenty of alone time to keep myself entertained. I’d fire up Tetris while still in my work garb and play for hours. There were many nights when Ernie would come home from work and I was still sitting in my work clothes… In the dark…famished from not eating…and obsessed with beating my last level of cascading colored blocks while a Russian techno song played over and over. How I never had a seizure during this period of my life is beyond me.
I’ve yet to find a game that matches my love of Tetris competition. I tried with other games like Super Mario Brothers and such but nothing ever came close to Tetris and beating each level. After this video conversation that I had last week I started to think about the different levels in the game and my life.
Each year brings new challenges. Some things get easier as you age and some things just get downright hard. I dare say impossible because i refuse to give up. Follow me for more about this topic through my blogapalooza. When you’re young you think – Holy Mother of God – when will things get easier? When will I have more money? When will the kids finally clean their rooms without me screaming like a purple faced lunatic? When will I get some time to pursue goals I’ve been putting off? When will I level up?
Every year you blow out the candles on your birthday cake and make a wish. I always wish that I can continue to enjoy what I have and to see what is really important. Each birthday though is a true gift but also a reminder that each year is a different level of complexity. This past year has been filled with caring for my Dad and his Alzheimer’s and remnants of multiple strokes. It has been a challenging year of watching the color tiles cascade and trying to fit them together to clear the next level.
My mind was back on Tetris. Each level got harder in that the tiles fall faster and the music gets louder. This distracts the player from rotating the tiles to form bricks and clear a wall or line. My heart rate spikes as I try to keep the tiles in play and not let them stack up too high. Such is the case in our lives too, right? Try to stay on top of your finances so that you can save for a more comfortable life. Pay the bills evenly and on time so that they don’t stack up and then you’re in trouble. Try to balance your work and personal life so that the two worlds don’t crash and distract you from what is really important. Try to stay on top of your health so that your next level in life isn’t full of illnesses that could have been avoided had you flipped the tiles in your favor.
Today I woke up to Level 57 in my life. I’m filled with gratitude that I’ve made it this far in the gaming system called life. I don’t know how many quarters and plays I have left but I know this – I’ll play my heart out and keep pushing so that when it is truly “game over” I can say that I used the best strategies to make it to the next level.