I like doing Sudoku puzzles. My local newspaper publishes a puzzle daily. I always finish reading the paper by doing the puzzle. While I was in Texas for three weeks last month visiting my grandchildren, the spouse saved all the local papers for me. When I got home I scanned through every issue to get caught up on the local news, but mostly to cut out the daily Sudoku puzzle. My son commented, “You know, Mom, you can buy a whole book of those puzzles for $1.00 at the Dollar Store.” Yeah, I know, but there’s something in my frugal nature that finds satisfaction in getting those puzzles for free.
Our local paper publishes three different levels of puzzles: bronze, silver, gold. The bronze are too easy and the gold are occasionally difficult. The silver are, as Goldilocks would say, just right. They are challenging without being frustrating.
I don’t know what it is about Sudoku that appeals to me. They really are a mindless activity. If you are systematic in working through the puzzle, it is unusual to not find the solution…and that might be exactly what speaks to me. Sudoku are governed by a set of rules and if you follow the rules, the outcome is predictable. The numbers all line up, everything is in its correct place. There are no gray areas.
Life doesn’t have those same rules. Oh, there are rules that we’re taught and live by, but the outcomes aren’t guaranteed. We tell our children to study hard and go to college so they can get a good job, and now we’ve got 10% unemployment and a lot of those kids who studied hard and went to college are now unemployed or under-employed and burdened with student loans. We tell people to work hard and save money and then they can enjoy their golden years and now we’re rolling back pension promises and reducing Medicare.
I know, I know…there are no guarantees. But every time I see a job go to an insider rather than a highly qualified outsider, or a criminal get off without consequences, or children going without medical or dental care, I wonder what has happened to the rules that govern our society.
I like Sudoku. It’s predictable. You follow the rules and reach success. I just wish life were a little more like Sudoku.