Like many, my bucket list includes a lengthy inventory of all the things I’d like to learn one day: play the piano, speak another language, cook like a gourmet chef…just to name a few.
These are BIG dreams for me. Let me quickly sum up where I currently stand:
- I have no rhythm. Like zero. I couldn’t even get through the first dance at my wedding without tripping over my feet…and I had a professional working with me for months on that! And while I realize you don’t have to dance to play the piano, I’m guessing the ability to keep a simple beat would certainly make it easier.
- I’m embarrassed to admit that after four years of high school French class, all I really remember is, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” My husband and I went to Paris last year. And while that statement *may* have been said on occasion during our stay, I can tell you that it really doesn’t help when you’re trying to communicate with other people besides your husband.
- My current list of “cooking” specialties consist of macaroni and cheese, Sloppy Joes and scrambled eggs. Really, I blame my grandma and my husband–the two best cooks I know who spoil me with their delicious food. With the two of them in my life, I’ve never really needed to learn how to cook.
My point is that while I do really want to learn these things, I have realistic expectations: doing so will take me FOR-EV-ER.
With a full time job and my obsession with my two little people, free time for me is at a premium right now. So I decided to bring my learning dreams down just a couple of notches. I remembered there was something else that I always wanted to learn. Something that I not only could learn quickly, but that would be fun and something that my husband and I could enjoy together. I wanted to learn to play chess.
I actually tried to learn the game years ago. And by “learn” what I mean is that I went to the store and bought a chess set. I think I may have even tried to figure out all the pieces at one point, but five minutes later gave up. Well, not this time.
I like to consider myself an expert in “strategery” (thank you forever, Will Ferrel). I’m a businesswoman with an MBA. How hard could a little game of chess be? Turns out…pretty hard.
In my journey to learn how to play the game, I ended up learning something else: an interesting little fact about my husband. I didn’t know this, but apparently my husband “lettered” in chess in high school. This was a surprise to me because 1. I didn’t realize just how cool my husband was in high school and 2. because I had no idea that people could actually “letter” in chess.
So after a quick lesson reviewing all the pieces, their moves and general rules, we sat down and started playing.
I’m pretty sure our first game lasted a whooping two minutes. Before I knew it, his pieces had quickly taken over my side of the board and then I saw my sad king fall to his side. Checkmate.
I’m a very competitive person, so I’ve been determined to get better. Okay, Mr. Maroney–you want to play hard ball? I can play hard ball. I did a bit of research and realized I was making some rookie mistakes: I wasn’t playing aggressive enough, I was rushing my moves and I wasn’t doing a good job of thinking ahead.
And while I do not like losing (especially to my husband), it’s reminded me how much I love learning new things. It’s one of my core beliefs; no matter how old you are, you should never stop learning. Even if it is something as simple as a game of chess.
Over the past few weeks, the game of chess has become part of our nightly ritual; we put the kids to bed, the hubs normally pops open a bottle of wine and we sit down together and play. It’s one of my favorite parts of my day. But to be fair, it’s also one of my most frustrating. I’ve actually become a decent player; in fact, I’ve been able to make my husband sweat a couple of times during our matches. However, there’s one thing I haven’t yet been able to do: beat him.
I actually love that he doesn’t let me win–that he plays his best against me. It will make it that much sweeter the day when I finally see HIS king down on his side.
Until then though, I realized that while I was able to cross one thing off my “everyday bucket list”, I actually ended up adding one to it as well. Any tips on how I can finally put an end to my husband’s undefeated record?