In the game of life we all have a Free Square. Is it a stretch to find life lessons from Bingo, a game of chance? I don’t think so, but let me explain.
I guess Bingo is as American as apple pie. That must be why when we had a foreign exchange student live with us for a year, my sister promptly went out and bought a bingo game. She wanted Dione, the Americanized name of the new member of our family, to experience it all. The only problem is that Bingo didn’t really begin in America. The game, or a version of it, can be traced all the way back to 16th century Italy.
I wonder if that’s why it ends in an “o”. Maybe from now on we should shoult out “been-GO” when we win!
As mundanely as we may think of the game, there’s at least one thing we shouldn’t take for granted about it, the free square.
I’m re-reading the book Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran. That’s because I spoke with her recently (that interview to come your way very soon). Victoria reminds us in her book that we have a free square – “Talents, abilities, and inexplicable aptitudes that make certain things almost effortless.”
Me? I’m the kid who had trouble pronouncing her name without stuttering. Learning to tie my shoes was another hurdle that left a mark my childhood psyche. Oh, the pressure! So, thinking of my “free square” definitely caused me to pause…for longer than I care to admit!
So I decided to get out a pen and pad and write down what could be on my “free square” list. Things like writing, creating new recipes, being Tina Fey’s friend came to mind.
OK. I’m not really Tina’s “friend” per se, in that she doesn’t even know me. But as much as a person can have a friendship in one’s head with someone else? Well, that comes very easily for me. I had a troubled childhood, what can I say?
What are some more traditional and not-so-traditional free squares in life? Victoria Moran points to her daughter who established early on a propensity for saving money. Others might have a knack for networking or getting good deals. Or maybe you know how to make the most awkward living space feel all nice and homey.
A Bingo game is typically laid out with 25 squares – 5 rows and 5 columns. Just because we get a free square in the middle doesn’t mean we have a free ride. We still have to work at the other 24 spaces in order to win the game. And you can win the game of Bingo without using that free square. Either way it’s so exhilarating to shout out that winning word – Bingo!
Take some time this week to think about your free square, whether one or several comes to mind. Victoria says, “Use your free square. Let it work for you. Be proud of it and grateful for it. Bingo!”
So now it’s your turn. What are your free squares?