When I was a child, there was a song titled “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.” Then, more recently, Forrest Gump familiarized the statement “Life is like a box of chocolates.” Now, after some thought, I’ve decided to contribute “Life is like a Game of Tetris.”
Do you remember Tetris? It’s a highly addictive video game popular about ten years ago. The game consists of different shaped tiles falling from the top of the screen to the bottom. The object of the game is to arrange the tiles into straight lines, either by turning the tile or moving it to the right or left. Filling in a line results in earned points and creating more space to play, rack up more points but most importantly, stay alive. When tiles pile up high enough to touch the top of the screen and there is no space to move the tiles around – the game is over.
So while playing this game I came to see that the Game of Life and the Game of Tetris are very similar. In the beginning of the game, the tiles move very slowly. I have plenty of time to decide just where each tile will fit best. But sometimes, because my perspective is skewed, I misjudge and fail to hit the intended mark. Suddenly things are not as I planned. Then I must adjust my design to accommodate the error. I might even make other bad choices because instead of watching the coming tiles I am still thinking of my first mistake.
Often, I can’t seem to get a break. Tiles appear that in no way fit the pattern I have going. I need a stick and a block falls. Then, I must decide what to do with the odd shaped thing. As the game progresses, the tiles fall faster. I have to make very quick decisions, despite the fact that my thumbs are tired and my eyes blurred. Then suddenly, the game is over.
If I follow this analogy a little farther, I have to conclude that Tetris (and Life) are not about winning. You just do the best you can with the tiles that fall your way and stay in the game as long as you can.