How a Board Game Made Me Question My Actions

My in-laws have a brown jelly cabinet under the staircase at their summer camp that houses three shelves of games. Only they have a new game that doesn’t fit in the cabinet. The board is big and wooden and takes up most of the small, round table in the kitchen area. The game, called Tuck, has a similar strategy to Trouble, but doesn’t have the loud, plastic dice-popper in the center. Tuck is played with a deck of cards and the games pieces on this particular board are marbles. Shiny ones. The first player to get all four marbles around the board to the home spot wins.

The first time I played Tuck, I thought that I was being smart by getting my marbles into the home chute as soon as possible. Time proved me wrong; <! — more →I sat with three out of four marbles in the home chute in the wrong spots for much of the game, watching others go around the board and land in the home chute in the exact right spot.

I needed an ace or a two to move to the top of the home chute and I didn’t get those cards. It made me feel like I was stuck in traffic, sitting in a stopped cue. In traffic, I prefer to take a long detour and continue to move than to sit. It’s the waiting that gets me. I can sit a long time to write or to read or to listen to someone, but sitting and waiting for something to happen — I can’t stand that.

The worst part was that I played the game a second time with no improvement. The second time, I wanted to go to bed, but another player was needed. I wasn’t sharp or eager. I made the same mistake as the first time. I got too anxious to be safe.

In much of what I do, I am too anxious to be safe. I don’t like the potential consequences of risk-taking and impulsive actions.

On the game board, I didn’t want to leave my marble outside the home chute and risk being landed on and sent back to start. What I learned from watching the game proceed, though, is that often a marble sent back to start still made it home faster than the one that had been sitting one spot away from home.

The game gave me a good lesson: sometimes you have to try a risky move and see where it takes you.

You might be the opposite of me. More deliberation and caution may benefit you.

Recently on my blog, I posted about tweaking our living spaces. Perhaps our usual behavior can use some tweaking, too. I’m going to experiment with adding a little risk in my life. Not the unruly, dangerous kind, but taking an action that might backfire at first, but that feels right.

What behavior tweak would you like to make?

This essay originally appeared on my blog at:…uestionmyactions/