I wrote some days ago about realizing that the journey I was on was not progressing as well as I would like
…about coming across some journals from years ago in which I expressed frustration with circumstances that are relatively unchanged today
…that the methods I was using didn’t appear to be very effective
…I’m still decluttering, and trying to find time for things I want to do, and attempting to maintain a simpler and cleaner home
…change has happened, but not as much as I would like
I wrote that there needed to be a new plan, but I had no idea what it might be.
I was frustrated.
I was hopeful.
I was anxious.
Then, by happenstance. I downloaded the game, gin rummy, onto my phone.
I’ve never been good at gin. I just thought it might be a good distraction, and hey…it was free.
Do you play gin? It’s pretty simple in theory. You have a limited number of cards and need to form melds (sets) before your opponent goes out or you get stuck with points. I’m not going to try to explain the whole game…the important part to understand as far as this post goes, is to know that getting rid of “deadwood” is the key to winning.
The game I downloaded has a range of opponents for you to challenge. They are ranked in skill from not very good to pretty much unbeatable.
When I started I couldn’t beat any of them.
I played anyway.
Then, I actually went and read all of the instructions just to make sure I understood what I was supposed to be doing.
I still lost a lot, but not quite as much. I started beating the worst player every once in a while.
I started watching what the best players were doing.
I realized that I was playing the same way I had always played…trying to put together the same type of hand over and over again.
I kept losing.
Sound like the way I’ve been working on my house?
That’s what I started thinking.
I started discarding cards…ruthlessly.
I stopped saving cards that would make melds that I wanted to make
…and started saving cards that could and would actually win the hand.
I discarded long-shots.
I stopped holding onto cards that were no longer useful.
I didn’t keep a card just because I liked it (I’m partial to hearts).
If it wasn’t going to contribute to a winning hand, I discarded it.
I quit picking up cards that “might” be useful.
A hand plays out quickly.
There is no time for a lot of “maybe” and “someday”.
Holding onto deadwood is no way to win.
I can now beat any of the opponents except for “Jane”. I’m pretty sure that she cheats. She wins a lot. She seems to be very lucky. Yep, I think she’s cheating. I may quit playing against her.
In any case, by happenstance, this game taught me a lot.
Help can come from the most unlikely places.
Life is short.
A day is even shorter.
I’ve got to play the hand that I’ve been dealt.
I can’t hold onto cards (stuff and emotions) that aren’t helping me to build the hand that I need to win the game. The game being the life that I’m hoping to live.
The wrong cards or too many cards won’t ever come together to help me achieve my goal of a simpler, tidier, more comfortable home.
I need to ruthlessly discard cards that are keeping me from assembling a winning hand.
If I have something that I used to like but don’t any longer, it should go.
If something was expensive, but I don’t love it, keeping it just takes up space that could be filled with a more important card.
Just because something once held deep meaning, doesn’t mean that it gets to stick around forever. I change and the things that are meaningful can change also.
There are only so many cards allowed in a hand.
Holding onto the wrong card means that there is no room for the right card.
I have to make sure that I have the right cards.
Oh, and it helps to make sure that I fully understand the rules of the game – the direction I am headed and my ultimate goal.
Clothes that don’t fit right or don’t fit at all. Gone. Even (or especially) if I am holding onto them because I like the idea of wearing them rather than the reality of wearing them. You know, all those clothes you keep taking out of the closet and dropping onto the floor – never really wearing anywhere.
Beautiful things that fit the image of who I would like to be, but don’t fit into the reality of who I am – a woman who hates to dust and despises clutter. I’m talking about those beautiful home magazine pages of meticulously displayed collectibles and art. I love the way that looks. It just doesn’t translate into my real life. I need to be realistic about the life I live and the way I live it.
Things that I used to use all the time, but don’t use any longer. Interests and needs change, but I don’t always adapt the stuff I have to reflect where I am right now. I don’t have four kiddos at home all the time now. I don’t cook the same. Life has changed. Stuff needs to be reassessed. Holding onto stuff from when all the kiddos were home and little doesn’t stop the progress of time. Those days are gone. It’s time to let go of the “cards” that are no longer serving a purpose in my hand and start building a new hand.
There are no excuses in gin. There is no justification. Deadwood goes or you lose.
There comes a time when you have to quit talking about what you want.
A time when you have to quit explaining why you can’t have or do what you want.
You have to do what is necessary to make space or time for what you want.
And you have to do it.