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Your Last Two PLaying Cards

Scenario One: You are playing a game of Bridge or Hearts. Everyone has doled out all of her good cards. It is down to the last two plays of the game. All you have left in your hand are two low, no-trump cards. You know that you might as well throw the cards in the center of the table, because you have no clout left.

Scenario Two: You are playing a game of Bridge or Hearts. Everyone has doled out all of her good cards. It is down to the last two plays of the game. You have planned well, following the lead of all the cards played, never reneging. Even though your last two cards are a four and a five of trump, you know that they will win any other playing card, because all of the other trump cards have been played. You have planned carefully for the end.

This weekend, I have been spending a holiday with a group of friends from England in a villa, just hanging at the pool, playing games, reading, and relaxing. Last evening we played “Cards Against Humanity” a card game that involved getting dealt ten cards with funny sayings on them. One person at a time had the opportunity to take a card from one of two decks that had interesting portions of a sentence on each card, with a phrase or a word left out. For instance: “Tom Cruise is happier when he _____________.”

The cards from the other deck, which we each were holding, had crazy and nasty sayings on them that may or may not fit with the incomplete sentence. Each of us would pick the funniest or pithiest response from our hands, lay it face down on the table near the reader. The one person reading the responses, would shuffle the responses, so he wouldn’t know which card from where what player. Then, he would read all the responses allowed, which was pretty funny. Alas, he would declare the funniest response and that person would gain a point.

Then the reader’s turn went to the next person clockwise at the table. So, everyone got a chance to pick which response was funniest around the table until all ten cards were played. Great and funny game, especially if you are tipsy.

At first, I could always find a funny saying that would fit with the portion of the sentence we were to complete. But by the last two cards, based on supposition, the cards remaining were almost never anything that would even make sense, which actually made the game funnier. The first game I lost having only played one card that anyone deemed funny. But the rest of the games I won, because, being the deductive, creative thinker, I saved cards that had ambiguous meaning and just one or two words on them for my last few playing cards.

As in any game with cards, planning for the end, is always the best blueprint for success. In fact, in any competition, you may notice, perhaps, a swimmer pulling out in first place, using all her energy for the first lap, but the one who had reserved his energy for the last lap, usually wins.

This metaphor is a great metaphor for life. We can’t always know what is going to happen in the future—in fact, we barely ever know. But being prepared for uncertainty is better than sitting fearfully, waiting for an inevitable loss.

So, in life today, use your energy carefully. Don’t expend it on traffic jams and situations you can’t control by being angry and anxious. Reserve your energy for the things and people who matter in your life. When it comes down to your last two playing cards, let them be compassion and love. Then, you will always win!

Coming Up: I’ll be writing more about the metaphors of life!

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