Go Big or Go Bust: On Learning the Importance of Play from Brené Brown and Settlers of Catan

Happy New Year! I hope you had as restorative a break as I did!  

If you're a regular here, you know all too well that my focus is always on work. But over this holiday it was anything but. I cooked up a storm (including not one but two pies, pumpkin and a fruit-sugar-only mince which even the chocolate fiends seemed to like) and I went as far away as Toronto. But the crowning highlight of my break was playing two rounds of the board game Settlers of Catan. Mr. Green remarked to our eldest (who’d given us this game aka 'Settlers' for Christmas) that he should be duly flattered as, in thirty-one years, Mr. Green had never once seen me play a board game. Damn straight he hadn’t. Me playing a board game? As if.

The game of Settlers is pretty complicated but the gift-giver so wanted us to want to play that he swallowed his considerable spirit of competition and coached us, all the while under-playing his own hand. And so, by the second game, I was winning. 

And oh boy do I like to win. With my modest accomplishments career-wise in a life devoted to work, being on top in this game was frankly at the level of what I’d call intoxicating. I was cackling, I was shrieking with delight. Naturally, unhinged as I was, I was also callous and merciless to my fellow players. 

Mr. Green leaned over and muttered to our child, his comrade in defeat: “You see what I have to live with? This is what she’s really like!” 

For reasons I don’t totally understand, this remark may well have been my highpoint of 2015.

I won't tell you the whole long boring story of how I *forgot my passport* and had to spend two and a half days solo *going to get it*. Let's pick up the story with me at the wheel, burning a diagonal from Toronto to NYC, listening on headphones to Brené Brown’s audio book The Gifts of Imperfection. (Mr. Green does not share my enthusiasm for self-improvement, hence the headphones.) Wasn't I surprised to have Brené confirm my recent experience with the board game! Everyone, including people who passionately love their work, benefits enormously from play. In fact play is actually as important as breathing. (something like that). ??? Seriously??? I’m determined to not forget this. 

 Route something or other halfway between Toronto and New York City

Route something or other halfway between Toronto and New York City

And so 2016 is starting off on an exciting new foot.

Please check back Wednesday for the next installment and, if you want a special New Year's treat, click the Like button at the bottom. You'll have more fun than watching the ball drop at midnight in Times Square surrounded by a million people and a security alert. Tell me if I'm wrong.  \o/  

P.S. That is not a crazed version of 'LOL' or 'lol' there at the end. It's my homemade emoticon for a hug. I hug you.