All I Ever Needed to Know About Life, I Learned Playing Solitaire — Farewell, Deeper Story

When I wrote this rather light-hearted piece, I did not know that it would be the last one I would ever write for A Deeper Story. That good place has told wonderful stories for over four years now: honest, open, difficult and beautiful stories. And it has been an absolute joy to work with the good friends I’ve met there. As it turned out, the overarching themes of this piece of piffle are good ones for making major life transitions such as the demise of ADS. So you can start this piece here and then click over to finish it and join the conversation — for the last time with me — over there. Please extend your thanks to Nish Weiseth for her labor of love, for the hours and dollars she has poured into that gracious space. It has all been gift.

I know, I know — playing solitaire is a time-waster, a filler, mindless self-entertainment, I can hear you shaking your heads in mild disgust clear across the internet

However, I beg to differ. Just for a moment or two, okay?

To begin, a little history . . .

I distinctly remember when I learned to play basic solitaire — with actual, physical cards. We were on an all-family vacation with my husband’s family, fishing in the High Sierras. And my sister-in-law found some cards in the cupboard and proceeded to teach me and her mother how to play this game. You need to understand that my MIL had NEVER played any card games except Rook  (anyone here remember that perfectly-acceptable-Christian-card-game from the long-ago past?); my FIL did not approve of this activity one little bit. Not ever.

But Mom LOVED it, and every trip after that, the cards came out and she enjoyed herself.

Fast forward a few decades and I purchase my first smart phone, and a little later,  my kids give me a Kindle Fire. Lo and behold, there are FREE solitaire apps. Because I don’t particularly enjoy watching television without something in my hands, these new toys became my go-to favorite thing to do on TV nights. And then my favorite quick distraction when I hit a block in my writing, or an easy time-filler if I find myself with ten extra minutes between appointments in my study, or a too-long wait at the doctor’s office. Because I have a notoriously hard time falling asleep at night, moving cards around on the screen becomes a valuable asset, easily promoting sleepiness in the dark of night.

Who knew there was such a rich variety of ways to play cards by yourself? My current favorites are Spider, Russian and Thieves of Egypt, all played with two decks. I have an app that lets me keep a running tally of consecutive games won, and believe me, I make a serious effort to keep that tally L O N G. And in order to do that, I have had to learn a few important life truths.

Wouldn’t you love to know what they are? Yeah, I thought so. Well, I’m gonna list them for you anyhow:

1.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And again.

Your best friends in solitaire — and often, in life — are the ‘back’ button and the ‘re-start’ button. If you get it wrong the first time (or the twentieth!), play the dang game again. If you place the wrong card in the middle of a game, just take it off and try another one. Trial and error truly are how we learn to do anything well. 

Closely related to number one, but more finely nuanced, is this truth:


Well, you’ll have to click here to read the rest of this little list. Come on, you know you want to!


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