Over the winter holidays I was lucky enough to get to spend a week with my whole family in Colorado. This year, as all of us gathered together, a good number of us were preoccupied because of various transitions we are going through. Despite that preoccupation, though, we all launched into our favorite activities with one another—cooking, eating, hiking, and playing games. We were really trying to have fun and enjoy our time with one another but there were definitely moments of disconnect because of our distracted states.
All of that changed, though, in about five minutes one evening after dinner. A group of us had sat down to play one of our favorite games, a tile-based game called Qwirkle. As a family full of competitive people there were often exclamations of, “how could you do that?!” or “you just ruined my move!” All of which is meant in good fun, but can definitely have some edge to it. My brother, one of the most competitive of the bunch, was watching the round rather than playing and took it upon himself to take on the persona of a very mellow, non-competitive person to remind us that the game didn’t really mean anything, that it was “just tiles on a board” and then he went on to reference #jtob as the way we should all look at life.
Perhaps it was the wine or perhaps it was his impeccable timing, no matter what it was that got us there, it was the turning point. The concept of “just tiles on a board” really struck a chord. While everyone in the room laughed, my brother and I completely lost it. We had one of those laughing fits where you might start crying due to the overwhelming emotions that are being released. One of those laughs where you have to leave the room to get yourself together. One of those truly cathartic laughs. #jtob became the reference point for the rest of the week and it also allowed all of us to let our guard down. While it had been said in jest and about a board game, I think it also reminded us that we were taking ourselves and our transitions too seriously. It reminded us that we are so blessed with all of the wonderful things we already have. And in giving us that space, it allowed us to open up more about those transitions and the emotions that accompanied them.
At each New Year I try to pick a theme or concept that I commit to focusing on for the year. I have found that doing this, rather than trying to change something big in my life has worked better for me. Recent themes I have worked on have been mindfulness and balance and the changes I have experienced due to these shifts in focus have been wonderful. Since getting home from Colorado, the theme that I keep coming back to for this New Year is “just tiles on a board.” As an entrepreneur and a mom and a wife and a friend and a daughter and a member of various communities, I often feel like there is so much at stake, like I have to work tirelessly to build more, create more, prove myself more. I feel driven and exhausted. So for the New Year my commitment to myself is to work to embrace the concept of “just tiles on a board.” I want to work to let go of the seriousness of it all, at least a little bit. My hope is that in doing this, in letting go just a little, everything will be able to flow more smoothly and naturally and that, in the end, relaxing that little bit will help me to kick ass and win the game. #jtob
What commitments are you making to yourself for the New Year? I’d love to hear about the changes you would like to see this year!