Life is Like a Game of Candy Crush
written by Shan Watts
Forrest Gump’s momma was wrong. While life may have been like a box of chocolates way back in the dim dark ages pre-Facebook, it’s more accurate to compare it to Candy Crush nowadays. Why, you ask? Read on to find out.
You start off full of enthusiasm, just knowing that you won’t be like all of your friends who’ve been stuck on the same level for literally YEARS. You scoff at those who warn that it’s the biggest distraction since Tetris, knowing that you have the strength to just have one game then quit. You sign up for it with a sense of empowerment and confidence, happy to be exploring a new challenge. That’s when the trouble starts.
You get addicted to the game. You need to play it just once before you start your day, just once during your breaks, just once before bed at night. The first levels are easy, but then you find yourself slogging through each day, hoping that this will be the day when you get past level 1,356 and catch up to all of your friends who are on level 50 gazillion. You start to lose confidence, you feel like a failure. You’re wondering what you’re doing wrong when everyone else seems to find the game so easy.
In a similar way, it’s easy to get distracted and then feel as though life is a series of days just to get through to the next pay cheque, drink, promotion or weekend. When we start out as kids we’re in love with life itself. Everything is a source of wonder and fascination, nothing is boring. As we get older we become more socialised and “educated” in terms of what society expects from us. We let go of the simple delights to focus on study, career and making money.
The media and society in general actively encourages us to compare ourselves with our neighbours to see how far up the social scale we sit. What kinds of houses we live, clothes we wear, which schools we send out children to, the cars we drive, even the food we eat. It’s hard to resist comparison when everywhere you turn there’s the compulsion to do just that. With comparison comes judgement. My car isn’t the biggest/fastest/most expensive, I can’t afford to send my children to a private school, I buy my clothes from Target or (the Gods forbid!) the local opportunity shop down the road. If I’m not the biggest and the best then I’m a failure.
So you don the cloak of routine. You give up the simple enjoyment of sunshine on your face during working hours. You sacrifice precious time with loved ones to earn enough money to pay off your debts. You trudge off to work every day just like everybody else, trying to keep up with the mythical Jones’s, distracted from the things that give you the most pleasure in life because you need to earn more money to pay off the house, buy bigger and better presents for the kids next Christmas, keep up the appearance of someone who moves with the times as far as fashion and belongings are concerned and who really isn’t slowly dying inside because your soul isn’t being fed. All the time you’re comparing your perceived social score with your neighbours, wondering if you’ve made it yet.
You know its madness. You know that this is no quality of life and yet you’re addicted, just like the person playing Candy Crush. You’re on a treadmill of living until the next pay cheque or purchase and you’re not sure how to get off the hamster wheel.
Then you get stuck and think there aren’t possibly any more moves. That’s when the Universe takes over and shakes things up a bit to give you PLENTY more options. In real life events like this can be stuff like retrenchment, an unexpected expense, illness in the family, the death of a loved one or the breakdown of a relationship. When these things happen you have no option but to look at things in a new light. That generally involves moving forward, even if you’re dragged kicking and screaming, and you’re compelled to re-evaluate priorities.
When a little bit of extra time comes your way, you either hoard it or spend it impulsively. Like those freckle lollies in Candy Crush that can create new possibilities. You save them up instead of using them to create moments of happiness in your life or you hang onto them desperately, looking forward to the time when you can enjoy them, only to have them snatched from you by something else that comes along and demands that you hand it over or lose out.
I decided recently not to hoard my freckled lollies because there was always a striped lolly that would take them out because I hadn’t seen them coming and all of my strategising amounted to nothing. I realised that by trying to hoard them, I was coming from a place of lack and that was why the striped lollies always won. By focusing on keeping the freckled lollies for a rainy day, I was creating the expectation of lack myself. So instead I focused on the freckled lollies coming to me easily and effortlessly and then using them in such a way that I would easily move to the next level.
I’d like to say that after this massive realisation, I won the next round of Candy Crush with no effort whatsoever, but again, as in real life, learning about something and putting it into practice consistently, as well as letting go of old beliefs that are keeping you from realising your full potential is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
The other way that life is like Candy Crush is that if you believe in reincarnation and you haven’t managed to get it right by the time you’ve used up all of your moves in one life, you get to start over the next time around. But you know? In the end it’s not whether you’ve actually won the game that counts – it’s whether you enjoyed it and made the most of the journey along the way, as well as your motivation to keep improving and evolving as a person in spite of distractions. What are can you do, today, to be truer to what your soul really longs for, instead of just playing eternal catch-up?