I have always liked playing board games. When I was a kid, my best friend and I played Monopoly every day for a long time. We even got to the point where we made agreements on which properties were ours and if the other person landed on them, they did not buy it. We played cards a lot, too. Uno and Rummy and this game called Speed, I think. It was a lot like Solitare, but with two people.

I passed on the love of games to my kids. On the rare occasion that someone does not have plans, the kids and I play a game together. My husband is not big on games so he usually doesn’t join us. I envy the moms that pin their kids and husband down for a family game night each week. Our schedule does not allow it. We usually have multiple things to do each night.

My youngest two are the most willing to play a game. When they get in the mood, they will start raiding their closets for games and can play happily for hours. It is a nice break from the electronics that rule our house right now. Although, classic board games can be found on electronic systems. While they were supposed to be watching their sister’s concert this week, my youngest two played Life on their iPods.

I love the game Life. It is so true to real life. At the beginning, you have to choose between going to college or getting a job right away. Today we are told if you don’t go to college, you will end up in dead end jobs. I know several high school graduates making 6-figures in real life. For the game, one person always seems to choose the “get a job right away” path. True to real life, many times they do just as well as the college bound players. The game moves along and your fate is determined by the spinning of the dial. It seems that just as you are comfortable with how things are going – money, family, health – you land on a space that changes things for you. How true is that?

Another game the kids like is Payday. The board is a calendar and you go through the days getting mail, playing lottery, buying groceries and paying bills. In your mail, you have the opportunity to invest in a product or business. You make money if and when you land on “Found a Buyer” and Payday. At the end of the month, you need to pay off your bills. If you can’t do it, you have to take out a loan. The last time we played, my son had to take out loans several times. He was frustrated that as soon as he paid it off, something else came up that caused him to take out another loan. Sound familiar?

In the movie, Up, I found myself crying during the first few minutes of the movie. This couple had a dream to go to on an adventure. They put their money in a jar to save for it. However, they had to keep breaking into the jar to fix things – a flat tire, a tree that crashed into the house, etc. Time went by and they got older. By the time they had enough money – their life savings – she got sick and died. How often do we say, “When the kids move out, we are going to travel or remodel or drive two-seater cars?” How many times will life get in the way? Will we ever get to do all those things?

Every day we get up and spin the dial. What is in store for us today? This weekend is filled with activities – games, practices, volunteering, birthday parties and hosting two dinners and a meeting at our house. This schedule might kill a normal person but this is our life. Some days we are up – financially, emotionally, no aches and pains. Sometimes we spin the wheel and it takes us on an unexpected path. For us, we enjoy participating in the game of life. It’s the journey in life that is fun. It doesn’t matter who wins at the end of the game.

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