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The Villages
Monday, September 27, 2021

Life is like a puzzle

Lisa DeMarco

I have a new hobby. Actually, it’s something I’ve been doing my entire life. Still, now thanks to modern technology, I can do it whenever I want, wherever I want, without any mess or storage. So what am I talking about? Doing puzzles! 

As I spoke of before, my oldest sister, Melinda, was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. This bone disease caused her to have glass-like bones. Because of this, we wasted a lot of time indoors while she was bedridden and broken. I am seven years younger than her, so needless to say, I had nothing better to do back then than crafts, play board games, and do puzzles with her to pass the time. Winters were long and cold in New Jersey, and we barely had cable television, more or less internet.  

We must have done a ton of puzzles during our younger years, a distraction I used well into adulthood. However, now that my boys are busy doing their own thing, and even tanning at the pool can get boring, I find it hard to occupy all my time. Then, it was suggested to me to look into “Jigsaw.” 

So I did, and in less than three days, I was addicted. I never imagined how much my silly little brain missed the constant memorization and attention to detail that my service job required. Serving has always been second nature to me – considering my 40 years of experience. I learned quickly that just because certain parts of my “being” have accepted and adjusted to retirement doesn’t mean that the rest of me has. The brain is funny that way. Sometimes it makes decisions on its own without considering the awkwardness to the rest of the body. Sorry to say, I’m crazy enough without losing my mind, so jigsaws it was. 

To me, working on a puzzle is like reading a book. It allows me to wander off into the scene. Like Mary Poppins, I jump right into the picture and enjoy the beauty of the day. Sunrise. Sunset. After the storm rainbows. I’ve enjoyed visiting them all, and it keeps me busy enough not to go stir crazy.

Oddly, I had an epiphany while finishing one of my many beautiful rainbows in the sky beach themes. I only had three pieces left to complete the picture, yet I could clearly see I only had two pieces left to choose from. How could that be? How could I be missing a part of an electronic puzzle? It’s not like it was one of the old garage sale puzzles that someone had already put together and lost a piece of before putting it back in the box and selling it for a quarter. I also knew I didn’t drop any on the floor, and it was just waiting for me to realize it and pick it up. Impossible?! The puzzle has 750 pieces. Where on Earth could the last piece be?

Just then, my grandson, Jeremy, came over to me and asked what was wrong. He could tell by my facial expressions and hand gestures while I was in my hammock chair on the patio that I was not happy! I tried to calmly explain to my six-year-old that I had lost a piece of my puzzle, and my daily quiet time was turning into an “I’m about to have a meltdown moment!”

I was stumped. Jeremy smiled at me and giggled as he always does. “Do you mean this piece right here, grandma?” he asked as he slid his finger from top to bottom over my tablet screen.

“Wow!” I cheered as I watched him pull my last piece of the puzzle from its hiding spot among the other parts it resembled.

“Wow!” I repeated a few more times with a sigh of relief before I thanked him for his help. “How in the world did you see that? I asked. 

To which he replied, “I wasn’t even really looking.”

With that, I was enlightened again by a first grader. Life is like a puzzle (not a box of chocolate). All of the pieces are there, but you have to connect one at a time, and sometimes a second pair of eyes can make a world of difference.

Laugh on. Peace out.

Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com

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