You know how, when you play a game for the first time, you always have a "practice round"? There really is no strategy involved in that first round because you are merely trying to understand the rules and not show your cards to everyone in the circle. There is usually someone who actually knows what they are doing and you are content to sit back and assume a passive role in the group in order to observe and make mental notes. Eventually, everyone in the group starts to get the hang of the game and you start playing "for real". Strategies are developed and skills are honed. You are an active participant in the game because the ultimate goal is to win; and let's be honest - who doesn't like to win?
In my life, so far, I have graduated from high school, lived in a foreign country for an extended period of time, graduated (almost!) from college and been steadily employed for a good part of my young adult life. I have had plenty of time to observe, learn, hone skills and develop strategies. By all standards, I should be familiar with the rules of the game and have the desire "to win". Why, then, do I feel like I am still in a "practice round"?
It's almost as if my whole life I have been taking notes and studying and biding my time, wondering all the while, "Is this going to be on the test?", when the reality is THIS is the test. LIFE is the test. And I don't use the word 'test' to convey something negative. Rather, life is meant to be lived, to be enjoyed, to just be. Instead, I am waiting for it to happen. I am still assuming a passive role in my own life - my own game - and waiting to be ready to play for real. But what am I waiting for? What is real?
I wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, wash, rinse and repeat, day after day, and the truth is, I have no idea what I am doing it for. I am not particularly having tons of fun or finding anything fulfilling in my daily activities. And I know life is not solely about having 'fun'; rather, I would just like to feel that I have accomplished something or, in the very least, helped someone else during my waking hours. I am still waiting to start playing the game but it's as if everyone else has moved on to play grown-up games and they are having the time of their lives, leaving me all alone at the kid's table.
They say practice makes perfect. Well, who are they? And what am I practicing for? What am I waiting for? Why am I still not understanding the game? And for that matter, what game am I even playing? How do I move on from the practice round and start playing for real?