I love Monopoly. I thought it was fun as a child and still do. It's been years since I pranced my silver dog (I insisted on the dog!) around the perfect square and bought properties I couldn't afford with almost endless money, but in my mind I still remember the magical feelings.
You could BE somebody in Monopoly with the right roll of the dice. Abundant fame and fortune were only shadowed by an inconvenient, but brief, stay in jail. And so what if you lost it all? Just close the board, go get a snack and play again later where the money reappeared and the chances started all over again. Oh, for life to be that easy.
Probably worth confessing is I never, ever bought Boardwalk. It won't surprise those who know me best - even though I can be fiercely competitive, it almost kills me to follow the norm. In other words, people LOVED to play Monopoly with me. I almost always lost. I felt sorry for the properties people landed on and sighed, so I bought them. Besides, I like purple and light blue! I would rather have a quaint cottage in the forest than a mansion in the city any day. And even though I lost, I felt happy. My own little seven year old interpretation of helping the underdog and saving the world.
I never pictured myself being this or having that, but if we're not careful the societal pressure to belong will suffocate us into conformation. You don't fit here unless _____. You fill in the blank. And it's almost humanly impossible to keep up, but so many of us will die trying.
In my own heart, I'm wiping the board clean this year. I'm taking all the hotels and houses I've added to things to make them more important and putting them back in the box. I'm taking steps to simplify my life every single day. I don't want to play the "she who has the most money at the end wins" game. I want to play the "she made the world better by being here" life.
So, I'll go around the board as many times as God has ordained learning as I go, collecting wisdom, strength and courage with every roll of the dice. I'll be thankful for the way my life has turned out so far whether it looks like what I think it should or not. I'll be just as content on Atlantic Avenue as I would be on Boardwalk. And with any luck - I'll stay out of jail.