March 23, 2014

About life, leaving, and Candy Crush Saga.

Filed under: MiscellAnnia — Tags: , , , , , — Ann @ 8:15 am
He knew a bad hand when he saw it.

He knew a bad hand when he saw it.

A wonderful thing happened to me yesterday: I encountered a Candy Crush Saga level that I simply couldn’t beat (Level 92, for any Crushers who may be reading this). And the realization gave me the freedom to walk away because I’d arrived at the point of diminishing returns – when the precious time, energy and focus I was devoting to the endeavor was failing to provide me with the fun, fulfillment and appropriate neurotransmitter releases to make it worthwhile.

And of course, that got me thinking about the times in my life when I failed to recognize that magic moment – that sweet packet of ultra-important information — when it dropped into my awareness. As the man sang, you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. And sometimes I held ‘em until the unthinkable happened: time and life were frittered away.

For example: I stayed in the law game far too long. I was afraid to leave it for two of the usual can’t-quit reasons: money and security. And I stayed in some relationships way beyond their expiration date, long past the day when all of my instincts screamed “Now!” but my fear-tenacity centers answered, “Maybe something will change….”

Here’s a secret: At that point in the game, things seldom change. I’ve heard people say, “I’ve devoted too much time to this relationship/job/endeavor to end it.” In most cases, the minute you think or say that, it’s a year or more past time to get out.

I am not saying that there is no room for steadfastness, for better or worse, employee loyalty, and all those fine moral guideposts. What I’m saying is that you will probably know when it’s over. And what I’m asking you to do is listen to your instincts. Staying for the sake of staying? That way lies madness. Or, to come full blog-circle: at that point, you’re not mastering the art of the game. You’re not crushing candies. You’re crushing your own spirit.

UPDATED APRIL 12, 2014: After a fashion, I went back to Level 92. I played once or twice a day, and always for the fun of it. I played to relax, and I played to match candies and enjoy the pretty colors. I didn’t get upset if I lost, because I expected to lose. And one night, to my amazement, I beat the Level. I’m now on Level 102. So I’m back on Candy Crush, but with a difference: I’m playing it, it’s not playing me. I no longer get frustrated, no longer beg Friends for extra lives. I only play when I need to relax. And the metaphor still works: sometimes you don’t need to give something up; sometimes you only need to do it better. And again, you will probably know what’s best for you. Happy crushing!

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