Friday, September 18, 2015

Life Decisions and Klondike

I have been wrestling with a significant personal issue. I haven't been able to make up my mind as to what I should do. I feel stuck, trapped, with no clear positive move to make. I have a choice that can be taken, but it comes with absolutely no guarantees of success.

To do, or not to do? That is the question. (Apologies to the Bard of Avon.)

Because I am deliberate rather than rash, I have been pondering this question. And ruminating. And processing. And thinking. And not thinking.

The not-thinking aspect of my decision process is attempting to invoke my intuition; after all, there are benefits and drawbacks to both sides of this decision, and there are also clear uncertainties involving real risks. I want to be sure to include not just rational considerations; there is also the aspect of trusting, or at least getting in touch with, one's gut for big life decisions.

So to disengage from my ruminations, I play Solitaire, the card game for one. Occasionally I play Solitaire with a real deck of cards, but since upgrading my computer to Windows 10, I play Solitaire on my laptop -- a lot. There are many versions of Solitaire, but the best known version is called Klondike. (You can even look it up in Hoyle's rules of games if you have doubt.) Klondike is my game.

Klondike is distracting. It is an old friend from childhood, and doesn't require much more to play than paying attention. It allows one's conscious mind to focus fully on the cards in the moment thus leaving the subconscious to process in the background and occasionally pop in with an insight.

This happened this morning. I had scanned the news and sports on line, and was playing Klondike on my laptop while drinking my morning coffee before breakfast and my daily shave.

Super dealer?
I have played literally hundreds of games of Klondike in the past few weeks. This is easy to do because playing on a computer, unlike using a real deck of cards, can be lightning fast. Game after game -- win, lose, lose, lose, win, lose, lose, and so on. The computer can deal the cards like the Flash on amphetamines.

In Klondike there is strategy; it's not just the luck of the deal and not missing any moves. Often Klondike tactics involve deferring a play or making a neutral move to open the potential for real progress. This morning I had to make such a move.

My insightful Klondike game looked like a sure loser. I was just playing out the deal, waiting for the computer to acknowledge that there were no more moves; but it didn't happen. I was stalled, but apparently the game wasn't over. Then I saw the neutral move that would open up a single positive play -- just one, but the game was still going.

As happens sometimes, that play led to another and another until suddenly the game opened up to clear and certain victory. And then it hit me from somewhere in the recesses of my brain pan that life is like that; sometimes you get stalled and the only thing to do is to make the only move you've got. It doesn't look like a sure winner, but sometimes it can get you unstuck and open up the game for real progress.

So now I just have to screw up courage and make the move. My subconscious has given me the insight. Who knew that a game of Klondike could lead to danger, adventure, and, potentially, a gold mine?

Happy shaving!

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