Don't take life too seriously. Remember to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Like playing games.

Don’t Take Life Too Seriously: the Joy of Playing Games

Before I get into it – happy Family Day! 🤗 I hope you’re able to spend some time with those you care about most, whether it be in person or virtually. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed playing games – board games, video games, and card games.

In fact, playing games have been a constant my whole life. Some of my favourites are Scrabble, the whole Final Fantasy franchise (with FFVII being the obvious go-to), and Euchre.  

Growing up, I’d play at my cottage with my sister and our parents, passing the time when the weather was bad or during the night.

Under the dim, flickering light of Koleman lanterns and candles, we would play all sorts of games: 

  • Rummoli. Rummy, and Yahtzee;
  • Chess, Checkers and Monopoly; and  
  • Crazy Eights, Chase the Ace, and Uno just to name a few.  

There were games with family members and friends, and there were one-on-one matchups that never ended.

Though I have to admit, my mom used to kick my ass at Scrabble – she ALWAYS found a way to play the best multi-word combos worth 50+ points. 

However, she didn’t stand a chance when it came to Euchre; neither did my dad, for that matter. Or many of my opponents. 😏

As for video games, I’m not afraid to admit I’m a bit of a nerd in that respect. 

Playing a video game offers a similar form of escapism as reading a book does. It gives you the chance to explore new worlds, experience a fantastical life, and even learn about history and mythology. 

It’s an escape when you’re overdosing on reality. 

Not to mention, it gives you the chance to be a knightly hero, fighting epic battles against deadly foes and winning the hearts of the people

I digress…

The reason I’m so fond of games has a lot to do with my mom, no doubt. But it really stems one branch further down the family tree with her mother: my grandma.

The Beauty of a Rose 

My grandparent’s house was the central hub for our entire family, with my grandmother, Rose Isabell Hager (Mitchell), hosting many of our special events and holiday dinners. 

It was a packed house, but she revelled in being surrounded by her loved ones, which included 14 grandkids from her 6 children.

Each one of us adored her, too, and she impacted our lives in unique ways. 

For me, I consider her the most influential person in my life to date. The rose featured in my tattoo is representative of that – if you’re wondering, the anchor is for my grandpa and the blackbird is for my mom. 

A quick shoutout to my cousin, Kaitlin, for drawing said tattoo – she is an exceptionally-talented artist and you should check her out on Instagram 🎨 @inktail.art.

I cherished the relationship I had with my grandma and spent a lot of time with her. 

She babysat me often when I was a kid, while my parents were at work or at lunchtime when I was in public school. And as a teenager, I would visit her regularly for a cup of tea and a quick chat; or I’d stop by to help out around the house (and to earn some cash, let’s be honest). 

True to her name, she was beautiful in both appearance and spirit.

She was kind, intelligent, and funny. And while there’s no doubt my smart-assed, sarcastic personality comes from my dad, my grandma had her influence there as well.

She was a kid at heart, just like my mom, always finding joy in the simplest of things – like watching the rain fall and listening to a thunderstorm, or being silly and playing games. 

My grandma loved to do puzzles, or play board games and cards, with BINGO being one of her all time favourites.

And since I was fortunate enough to spend so much time with her, our games together are some of my fondest memories.

A Game Against Sol’ 

Which brings me to the other night, and to a few final words I’d like to leave you with. 

Another of my grandma’s favourite games was Solitaire.

Even though she lost more than she won, her battle against the card deck was an ongoing war. “Ole Sol’ beat me again!” she’d say in defeat before shuffling up and dealing another hand. 

I would also engage in 52-card combat; back in the dial-up days of the internet, waiting for songs to download on Napster or a friend to message back on ICQ

And recently, I decided to swing my sword once again, with the intent of reclaiming victory over Sol’ and ending his reign of tyranny once and for all. 

I dusted off the deck and dealt a hand. Things were looking very promising for several rounds as I steadily moved towards triumph. Until suddenly… BAM! Solitaire ended the game with a fatal blow.

Without luck, I tried again, and again, and again, and again. And I had fun despite losing every single game. 

Playing resurfaced memories of my grandma and made me forget about the madness of today’s world; it was a gentle reminder of how important it is to slow down and to enjoy life – to stop and smell the roses. 🌹

Easier said than done, I know. 

Life gets in the way of playing games, and the older we get, the harder it is to make time for something so trivial. 

Our lives are dominated by hectic schedules, with a countless number of tasks competing for our energy and our attention. We’re raising families, managing careers, nurturing relationships, and chasing dreams. All while trying to stay relevant, develop new skills, and keep pace with the Joneses.   

But don’t forget to create space for the things that matter. 

Maybe playing cards or a board game isn’t for you, but the message remains the same: life isn’t about making a living – it’s about making a life worth living

Take time to enjoy the simple things, don’t take yourself too seriously, and remember to have fun along the way.

Now, who’s up for a game of cards? 🂡 

The Diary of Davis Newsletter.
Photo by Aaron Burden

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