Actually I should probably spell the title of this post Scrabble I’s. It sounds the same but means something different.
Let me explain.
About year ago life pulled me up short and quick. One too many sure-I’d-be-happy-to’s, one straw too many on this particular camel’s back, far too many aches on the heart, and far too little sleep. I’d been through a couple of tough years and was working my way down off the teetering cliff edge of stress and worry.
One day it just hit. I couldn’t do it anymore. My body and my brain and my heart all just said, “Nope. No more. Not going another step. Done. Finished.”
Kaput – On Empty
Instead of getting out of bed and getting on with the getting on I dragged myself to the couch and sobbed for an hour or two or three. Then I lay there like a bag of rocks. Unmoving. Unmoved. Worn down completely.
Talked things over with MSH, with a conclusion that I needed a break, needed to get away, regardless of our non-existent resources. He pulled a rabbit out of hat and a few hours later I found myself on a plane headed to my cousin’s house. My return ticket was for a week later with the option of staying longer if I needed to.
I did a ton of sleeping, especially the first few days. I did a mountain of thinking. And got in some high quality nature time. Denver is awesome that way. And in the evenings my cousin and I played Scrabble, live and in-person, instead of on the internet like we usually do.
As usual she won most of the games
In Scrabble you can get some weird letter combinations on your tray. Seven letters and all of them vowels is a common one. Or all of them consonants, happens more often than I care to count.
It’s not even unusual to get three or even four of the same letter on your tray at once.That’s annoying and kind of useless for scoring the big words and high numbers.
Something weird happened during one particular game. Cue the eerie music.
My tray filled up with “I” tiles.
What the aitch?
Getting a tray full of almost all the “I” tiles was aggravating. Can you think of any words with lots of I’s? I can’t. I couldn’t. Even if I cheated and used a word builder program on the computer, which I don’t do, there was little I could do with that many I’s.
There are nine tiles with the letter “I” in the version of Scrabble we were playing. I got eight of them, not all at once, but close together, with six on my tray at one time.
“Maybe the tiles are trying to tell me something,” I said to my cousin.
Ever the wise and thoughtful one, she asked me what I thought it meant to get almost all the “I” tiles.
I figured it was the “game maker’s” way of telling me I needed to think about “I” more often. It was MY turn for a while. “I” needed to take care of my needs, my health, my mental well-being, my basics.
I kind of knew that by then anyway, but this was just a strange reinforcing visual of what needed to happen.
The song by that country western dude came to mind almost immediately, you know the one, by Toby Keith:
“I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you you you you, usually, but occasionally
I wanna talk about meeeeee
I wanna talk about me”
I didn’t just want to talk about me. “I” needed to talk about and take care of me for a change. The Scrabble tiles were pretty clear about it.
Balancing Rocks or Spinning Plates
Well, my cousin and I discussed the need for the ever-elusive concept of balance in our lives. That seems a sort of common thread in many of our conversations. How to achieve balance, why it’s so difficult to find, what to drop or add where.
I don’t normally take advice from Scrabble tiles. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But this one time, it seemed the perfect recipe for finding balance.
To twenty or more parts “U”
add eight parts “I”
for a more reasonable, balanced, livable life.
Season to taste.
Add more “I” as needed.
I’m certain that escaping to paradise for a week isn’t a normally balanced way of adding more “I” to one’s life. But it sure helped mine out.
Not your typical resolution
I returned to real life with a resolve to take care of myself more conscientiously.
I have an almost daily reminder when “My turn” pops up on my computer Scrabble game. There’s often an “I” tile that tweaks my balance meter and causes me to check my “I” gauges.
Writing this blog is part of that “I” time. Every day I focus on “I” for an hour or two, doing what I love, writing, thinking, and then writing some more. Then I get on with my day, taking care of all the “U”s in my life.
Scrabblize. It might not be in any dictionary, but it’s in my vocabulary anyway.
Have you ever gotten a message or advice you needed from an unusual source or in an odd way?
It’d be fun to hear about it, if you’d like to share.