Late Night Skip-Bo and the Paths Our Lives Take

Late last night playing Skip-Bo on the bed with my wife. I know there are debatably more fun things one could do on a bed with their wife, but hear me out.
Just over twelve and a half years ago my future wife re-entered my life.
Early in our relationship, I visited @minilizziebean in Melbourne and we played this game. I didn’t know anything about it, and the only instructions she had were, of all things, in German. But slowly we garnered what we could from the manual, combined with her memories, and figured out how to play the game. And we had a blast!
It is only now, reflecting on this, that I can see so much of our lives, or anyone’s life in general, can be mirrored in this early experience.
There is no manual for life, but there are clues. There are hints in the lives we observe, be it our parents, siblings, friends, or even the fictional lives that furnish our days. Sometimes in life you think you know what you are doing, but then suddenly everything seems like it’s written in German. Similar to English perhaps, some hints of words you understand, but also a smattering of strange dots and consonants. Sometimes you know there is a structure to things, but it only starts falling together once you get out there and give things a go.
The path that our lives have taken since that day has been anything but simple, and not always in the direction that I would have imagined it going in years before. But I wouldn’t change it for anything, because all the pieces that have fallen into place so far are precious things that have become a part of who I am.
Go back thirteen years and I would never have imagined that a woman as wonderful as my wife would ever see anything in me worth looking twice at. Indeed, the only reason I had the courage to go up and talk to her on the night we met was because I was certain she was so assuredly out of my league that there was no need to be nervous. Rejection was a given, so why not just have a chat?
Flash forward to today and not only have my many character faults failed to drive her away, but we are fast approaching a decade of married bliss, and even managed to raise one pretty damn cool little son in the meantime.
Sure, we have faced challenges together along the way; life isn’t easy. We are facing challenges this very day.
But the point of all this, and the card game session (pictured above) that started this whole post, is that sometimes it’s good just to put aside your concerns, your adult worries, and remember that life is a series of moments. You might not know where it is going, or if you are doing the right thing, but that’s ok. Live in the now, enjoy a simple game with the person you love most. Life is short, but it’s the longest thing you’ll ever do.
So, thanks for playing this game with me @minilizziebean. Thanks for introducing it to me, for playing it with me, and for continuing to make my life the remarkable adventure that it is every day.

A Conspicuously Stellar Morning


This morning’s walk to work was nice.

Turning a corner I was struck by how bright the sun was. I know it’s a stupid thing, after all I see the sun every day (well this is Ballarat, so at least an approximation of the sun on some cloudy days). But nevertheless, it should be a mundane experience by now; to turn a corner and find yourself in the rays of our local star should not offer any new impressions. But today seemed somewhat different.

The sun was low in the sky. It was morning like I said. Low but brilliant. Streams of photons transferred their energy to me, ending their 499 light seconds travel through the inner solar system by increasing my skins temperature ever so slightly. It is an amazing thing to consider. I who is made of what once was a star, now absorb a new stars energy. An awesome cosmic experience.

The reason why I am describing this in such terms is because this morning the sun really felt like a star to me. Often we forget our true place in the solar system. Hurtling around a star which is in itself orbiting the centre of the galaxy, and so on as we were once told by Eric Idle. We forget these astronomical truths because we have evolved not only as a species, but also as a culture, with a set view of life on this planet. We adopt things like the curvature of the earth as a flat plane on which our experiences lie, and figure it the truth. Likewise, we talk of the sun rising, or setting, or moving in the sky, and somehow lose sight of the fact that it is our relative movement around the sun, and the earth’s rotation on its axis, that cause these illusory appearances.

Sure we know these as facts, but the quotidian nature of all this often numbs us to the reality.

“You realize the sun doesn’t go down,

 It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round” – The Flaming Lips

But something about the sun this morning, its place in the sky, its brilliance, seemed stellar. It seemed different than usual. More than just the light from above, more than just the thing that delineates day from night. The sun was suddenly there to me, in all its glory. A great ball of hydrogen and helium millions of kilometres away: A massive fury of nuclear reactions.

I think it was simply the position in the sky that did it. Usually you can walk around at ease without any actual view of the sun. We evolved it seems to focus on horizons, and on things close by; our primate ancestors needed this to be the centre of their visual world, because this was where the danger was most likely to come from (or where the good times would hopefully happen). So the sun, traversing its daily arc across the sky, simply wasn’t as important. Sure it may be in there, perhaps at the apex of your vision; but you don’t notice it.

When I turned that corner I couldn’t help but notice it. I had to squint. The sun isn’t that big in the sky really; you can blot it out with a thumb extended the length of your arm. But this mornings sun commanded my attention.

Maybe there was more to it than just the physical effects in order for such a humdrum thing to stick in my mind so. Maybe I am remembering this so vividly because of how it made me feel; because of my state of mind at the time. I don’t know. But on a dreary day, when you are walking away from your home to a job that you aren’t all that excited to be going to, the arrival of a literal ray of sunshine in your life can help change your perspective. it reminds you that the world isn’t just a machine to house the cog that is you; rather it is a world that you are living in. There are things out there greater than you, but you are alive to experience them; and that’s pretty cool.

Anyway, I don’t know if this post has done much to interest anyone, or to convey the experience as I felt it, but a part of me was inspired and just had to write something.

Cheers. MM