It’s occurred to me that the games we loved or hated as kids actually tell us a lot about ourselves as adults. I know. It’s the kind of thing you think about when listening to your child conjugate verbs before a quiz, but sometimes that’s all the time you’ve got…
I hated musical chairs. I hated the anxiety of waiting for the music to end. I hated the physical confrontation with the kid who was trying to push me off the chair we both needed. In short – I was a musical chair weenie who did not feel the Fun with Dick and Jane magic of the moment.
I loved kick the can. Racing up to send that can soaring and running on to hide again – I was born for that. Same for kickball. The ball was so big and soft, it wasn’t going to hurt anyone. Plus, you were aiming for the legs. All you needed to do was kick your hardest and run like crazy.
Here’s the thing. To this day, I prefer to compete against myself. I prefer to beat my old time. I prefer to do a better job. I like to win, I have to admit, but I don’t want to win if I have to physically beat up the other guy.
I think my aversion to musical chairs helps explains two things about me as an adult. For one, it explains why I love being a writer. My competition is myself. I can always work on my craft. I can always try for a new market. I’m comfortable putting my writing up against another writer. When I don’t get an assignment I want, I go through my work to see what could have been stronger. When I do get the assignment, I polish my work until it shines.
The other thing it explains is why I’m so stressed when I’m living through a period of time that is particularly unpredictable. The good news is that I’m not a six-year old any more. I can put some things in place to offset the unpredictability. Still. Let’s face it. Six-year old me still freaks out that I won’t be where I need to be when the music stops. Definitely a good reason to have some chocolate on hand.
What about you? What do your childhood game preferences say about you?