On Board Games and What It Means To Fall Behind

March 02, 2016

What do Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and my photography business have in common?  Other than the fact both are scheduled around my kids, not a lot.  But that doesn't mean I didn't learn a lesson from Mr. Rogers' land of make believe.  More specifically I learned the lesson from playing the Daniel Tiger board game with my three year old, Soren.
Soren loves this game, he got it for Christmas from our neighbors and asks to play it nearly every day.  He loves the details; spinning the spinner, adding his friends to his trolley, counting the spaces.  He love the big parts; playing with his family, making sure everyone gets around the board and of course, winning.

But recently he started getting discouraged while playing.  He chooses which character to be at the beginning, starts at that character's house and the other players do the same, noting that each house is spread out around the board.  However, as each player moves around the board, they each get further and further form his original starting point.  He will see a player that looks further ahead than him and decide he wants to be Katerina Kitty Cat instead of Prince Wednesday (yes, those are real names).  He tries to switch places with them and the cycle continues, he sees someone else that looks further ahead than he is and tries to be them, eventually putting him further behind than anyone else.

When I have had enough of him switching players, sometimes he stays the course but a lot of the time he stomps off in a fit, forgetting how much he used to just love the game.
I am entirely guilty of being the mom that cannot believe how silly he is being, who tries to explain that he needs to focus on what is in front of him and not what everyone else is doing, who shakes her head and puts the game away out of both punishment and exhaustion.

I am also entirely guilty of running a business where sometimes I see all the people who appear to be ahead of me, try to become them and still meet my original goal.  I find myself constantly changing what I see as desirable, how I define success and how I find my value as an artist.  And in that maelstrom of comparison I fall behind, far from not only my goals but the path I was on to meet them.

It's (mind)games like these that make me throw fits, walk away and forget that I love what I do.  I love to create, I love to tell stores and I so much more than love the fact people trust me to share their biographical moments.  It's games like these that make me forget I have a community of trusted friends, artists and listening ears who are honestly open to help and not simply compete for clients.  It's games like these that make me forget who I was to begin with, making the inspiration and dedication feel like they don't matter in the fear of being good enough.
So today, my photographer self needs a pep talk from my mom self:

  • "Self, you are part of this world because you chose it and you chose it because you love it. 
  • You cannot be anyone else, you have to be you.  
  • You will gather great friends along the way if you stay the course.  
  • You are starting from a different place than those around you and that's OK.  
  • You can only go as far as life lets you in every turn.  
  • The people you are playing with are not against you, and if they are then they are missing out. 
  • You are doing well.  
  • You can always try again. 
  • If you work hard, you will catch up. 
  • Make sure to remember to have fun. 
  • And as always, your family and friends are waiting for you when you get back home."


So play on, create on, travel on, friends and let me know if you need a ride in my trolley :)

*ding ding

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1 comments

  1. I am so guilty of this myself. This is a great reminder to stay the course, be true to myself and keep chugging along on the trolley.

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