Challenge number two is in the box. Actually it’s out of the box and still sitting on my table but you get the point. I put together a 500-piece-puzzle with a little help from Andrew. Actually a lot of help. Basically he did the puzzle and allowed me to assist but it’s done. It was pretty much framed out by the time I realized he’d started. I’ll admit it took me a bit to get going. First of all, it was kind of overwhelming so many pieces, so many shapes and colors. And, since the edges were already done, where do you start? Plus, I needed my reading glasses which was a bit humbling. But just like riding a bike, once I got on again it all came back to me. Pretty soon we were working side by side, piecing together smaller sections, searching for their place in the larger picture.
In prepping for this challenge I got some valuable insights from experienced puzzle-doers. One mentioned that puzzles are basically a problem-solving activity, which is so obvious to me now. I’d never really thought about it before. Andrew has always loved a similar activity: legos. He even mentioned, while we worked, that when he doesn’t have a lego set to build that he likes to do puzzles. Didn’t know that.
Another puzzle advisor told me that part of the joy of doing a puzzle is working on it with other people. For me, truer words have never been spoken. I did enjoy the search for the right piece and the pleasant feeling of it all coming together. But my favorite part was standing shoulder to shoulder with my seventeen-year-old son, no phones, just a shared task with a singular purpose. I think he enjoyed it, too. I can write that because there is no way he’s reading this blog.
One of the unexpected benefits to working my way through these challenges (two so far!) is that in order to best recall how you think and feel about something you have to be present in the moment. It’s forced me to examine my emotions in a place and time. We live such busy lives that stopping occasionally to see “hey, how does that make me feel, and why do I feel that way?” kind of slows life down. Doing the puzzle together also slowed time down. Just for moment.
So, did you try your hand at a 500-piece-puzzle? Were you inspired to dust off the old puzzle boxes and put puzzles back into your life again? I won’t be designating a portion of our kitchen table as a permanent puzzle station but I will do one again. If fact, Andrew and I have plans to start on a 1,000 piece dandy in the near future.
Before you go…if you, like me, are prone to snacking while you are watching tv or reading or doing basically any other hands-free activity, puzzles are a great way to keep your hands busy! It’s hard to eat and do a puzzle at the same time…unless you can get someone else to keep working while you are eating. Ice cream may have been eaten during the completion of this challenge.