(Cupcakes c/o our friend Alexis at our house on New Year’s Eve)
I am really good at word games like Scrabble, Word with Friends, Scramble with Friends, Boggle, etc.* You get the idea. I don’t say this to brag (I mean, for real, who would be impressed by someone bragging about that? That’s like saying you’re really good at checkers). It’s just something that I’m known for among friends and family. While I don’t win every game, I’ve beat plenty of people enough that they just flat out refuse to play with me anymore (as well as warn others who may challenge me).
Have I possessed some sort of innate, exceptional aptitude for looking at a random group of letters and making words out of them since before I could hold a Scrabble tile? As amazing/weird as it would be to be some sort of Scrabble prodigy, I’m afraid not. While I’ll say that I was always pretty good at it, it’s something that I got really good at with lots and lots of practice.
Back in 2007, I worked a job as the contracts manager at a travel club. I had a dungeon-like office space that I shared with the office manager, Carmen (who eventually became one of my dearest friends) and we had a lot of downtime. Carmen liked to challenge me to bouts of Literati on Yahoo! Games and Lexulous on Facebook (bringing it back, y’all) in between timeshare presentations. She was really good. She knew that sometimes making the highest scoring word wasn’t the most important play; sometimes you needed to strategically block your opponents from high-scoring tiles. She had memorized the list of acceptable of two-letter words and Q-without-U words, whereas I knew nothing of these potential ringers. She repeatedly kicked my ass. Over and over and over. For months on end. And where some people would have thrown up their hands, deciding that getting their ass kicked repeatedly was not fun and quit playing the game, I became more and more determined to beat her. We worked together, 40 hours a week, for a year and a half and eventually, I did beat her. In fact, I was beating her fairly consistently (she was still beating me most of the time, though). So I became the
sad person Scrabble boss you see before you today.
I wrote all that to say, as we are just at the beginning of a new year, I intend to approach 2013 the exact same way. I have realized that I’ve been able to take on a lot of amazing opportunities due to luck and being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people and my brilliant personality. I’ll admit that my life is pretty great right now and when you’re comfortable, it can be so easy to just be content with what you have and coast. But I really want to challenge myself and put my ass out there to be kicked more often, both in the professional and personal areas of my life – because in many instances, that’s the only way I’m going to get better, faster, stronger. So here’s to 2013 kicking my ass. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish.
* Oddly enough, I’m terrible at Letterpress.