I’ve always been a lover of words and writing. Spelling tests were my favorite days in school because sounding out words and figuring out whether the I came before or after the E was such a fun challenge. Word searches and crosswords were always favored over anything that had to do with numbers. The only math I really liked was algebra because to me it kind of read like a sentence with a few missing words I needed to figure out. But then again I was in remedial math in third grade (shout out to Mrs. Wagner and her dot math method!) so maybe algebra isn’t like a sentence with missing words, who knows.
Anyway, this post isn’t about math or spelling, it’s about crossword puzzles. Yes, crossword puzzles as they relate to life. In the past year I’ve been on my own for the first time ever and I lead a fairly quiet existence in my apartment without the noise of TV or the distraction of WiFi. So when I’m eating a meal or or bored with what I’m reading, I reach for my New York Times crossword book and exercise my brain.
The other day as I forced myself to erase a word that I thought was right but decided I must reconsider to start making progress in other parts of the puzzle, I had an ah-ha moment. After I erased my first guess and placed what I thought might work, I was able to finish that area of the crossword rather quickly because everything else starting falling into place. So then I thought, this is kind of like adjusting one thing in your life that you really don’t want to adjust because you think it’s working but once you try something new several other things become easier and start working better.
And that’s when I got really excited because I started thinking of other ways my crossword book relates to life:
I always use a pencil because sometimes you have to start over. Not everything in life can be permanent.
Sometimes when I get stuck I need to put it aside and do something else for 10 minutes, 10 hours, or 10 days. Taking breaks is one of the best ways to accomplish something.
Occasionally I need to ask for help from Merriam-Webster or Google to figure out a word which allows me to complete the puzzle. As much as I don’t like asking for help, sometimes it’s necessary in order to move forward.
I should probably try Soduko. Because the things we look forward to least usually have the biggest impact.
Whatever it is that you’re working on, know that sometimes your first attempt wasn’t right and starting over is okay. What if all you had to do was adjust one thing in your life to make progress?