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Resorting to ZA

ZA and QI are typically the two words in the game “Words with Friends” that I use as a last resort, saying, in my head, I’m “throwing-in-the-towel-and-I-can’t-do-anything-else-with-this-letter-Z-right-now-try-as-I-might.” For me, in my creative and somewhat competitive nature (my husband would say the ‘somewhat’ is superfluous in that statement), this is the death of interesting wordplay. It represents surrender and being out of options. I hate it. It is a metaphor in the vocabulary world for giving up, for admitting defeat, for relegating the game to a fate that has turned on me.

Yet I continue to play the word. Sometimes, in order to further the game, it just has to be done.

In addition to the reluctant use of ZA and QI, I will summarily concede that I adamantly refuse to concede resignation near the end of the game. While others are not as prideful as I, and can hit the option to “RESIGN,” I just can not ever bring myself to do it. I play it out to the very last letter, eking out every single, solitary point.  Whether this is a matter of personal dignity, stubbornness, stick-to-it-iveness, or another matter entirely that ultimately requires therapy, is yet to be determined. In my pursuit of excellence, do I really need to ride these games out to the bitter end? Apparently, the answer is, resoundingly, YES.

When our firstborn son was 3 years old, he was already arguing for his rights and independence, and absolutely refused to give up the fights. As a result, I read “The Strong-Willed Child,” by James Dobson, and learned that children must learn to submit their will, but not their spirit. It has paid beautiful dividends to see all three of our children, actually, have a stubborn will in different areas of their lives. I see obstinacy as having a place in this world… and the apples do not fall far from the trees.

My independent streaks have led to many different roads and crossroads, some good, some bad. Attaining good grades throughout my first year of grad school has gotten me thinking today… is the goal of straight A’s in school selfish, stubborn, obstinate, arrogant? Is refusing to surrender to “ZA” unless absolutely forced all part of the parcel that makes up this fiercely driven need of mine to always do my best where academics, particularly, in vocabulary and writing, are concerned? Adaptation in the world often requires letting go of certain expectations. In so many areas of my life, I have let go, maybe even a little too loosely.

Determining where to squeeze and where to loosen constitutes this game of life, does it not?

And now I find myself hungry for a bit of ZA.