Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I'm a nerd. My hubby and oldest daughter are constantly exasperated by the fact that I would rather sit snuggled in a blanket with a book than hiking through the woods. Actually, it doesn’t really bother them anymore since they can keep each other company, but they do still make fun of me.

One of the nerdy things I love to do is put together a large puzzle. There’s just something about a puzzle that makes me happy. I know—I’m really incriminating myself here, but I gotta be honest.

First of all, choosing the puzzle is fun. While the overall picture is important, I study the details to make sure I’m not gonna get stuck with 5 different shades of brown that are the majority of the puzzle. I love finding the ones with vibrant colors—or at least parts of it are vibrant and distinct. Not only do they make the puzzle easier to complete, they give you a place to start grouping pieces together.

Then, I love to separate the outside pieces from the inside and put together the border. There is something reassuring about a solid boundary. You know your limits and it gives you a place to start. The boundary is not a bad thing, but a good thing meant to help guide and direct.

Puzzles can be done alone or with others. While it’s frustrating for a person who just walks up to find a piece you’ve been searching for the past half an hour, it’s also fun to see another part of the picture complete. It's also very refreshing to be able to work in solitude and not feel like you have to invite anyone else to join you.

But what I love most about doing a puzzle is that it has a clear beginning and end. That and the fact that you can visually see your progress along the way—there’s no guesswork. So many times in life, we have projects that do not ever seem to end and it’s often hard to see what you have left to accomplish. Or, due to the size of the overall project, it’s easy to forget what has already been accomplished and get overwhelmed at the scope of what is left to do. With a puzzle, it’s very clear what you’ve been able to accomplish and what is left to tackle—often, you even have a clear picture of what the individual pieces look like based on those around it.

So, give me a puzzle any day and I will enjoy every minute of putting it together, as well as breathe a sigh of relief if—I mean, WHEN, I finish it.

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