Life Lessons I Learned Playing "Frogger"
As a tween, I spent hours in front of the television, joystick in hand, playing the Atari video game Frogger. If you are not familiar with Frogger, the basics of the game are: “The frog starts at the bottom of the screen, which contains a horizontal road occupied by cars, trucks, and bulldozersspeeding along it. The player must guide the frog between opposing lanes of trafficto avoid becoming roadkill, which results in a loss of a life." (Wikipedia, 2019). I consumed endless hours playing alone or against my brother, trying to beat each level and see my name at the start of the "top player" list.
The other day I was reminded of Frogger: I was driving on the belt line during rush hour and I changed lanes in an attempt to avoid other vehicles. An analogy popped into my brain as to how Frogger actually can be related to many of life's lessons. Let me explain before you think I have gone off the deep end...
In first playing the game, you focus very closely on getting the frog into each lane as you attempt to not get "schmucked" by an approaching vehicle. Carefully, you navigate the frog from lane to lane. Problem is, focusing on one lane at a time doesn't allow you to observe the timing of the cars zooming down the other lanes, eventually trapping you and… well, you know what happens next.
By focusing on the little details in life we many times do not see the bigger picture of what is going on around us. This means we may miss how other people are feeling, how we want to feel and to lose sight of our goals/dreams.
As you move upwards, the levels get harder and the vehicles move faster and faster. You start to move the frog into the first lane and "WHAM!" you lose. This causes you to become a bit fearful in even attempting to start the game. All of a sudden you feel "stuck" and anxious about the smallest movement your frog may make.
Fear in real life can be a great paralyzer. Be it changing careers, leaving an unhealthy relationship, or moving to a new town, fear keeps us stuck in experiences that may no longer be serving our souls.
While your frog is stuck on one side of the road, you may notice your friends (or brother in my case) is already successfully on the other side. They are waving and yelling "what's taking you so long? Come on over! It's nice over here!". You hesitate and ask, "Is the grass really greener on the other side?" You will never know until you enter the first lane and look for support from others in your life to give you help in achieving your dreams and cheer you along.
Eventually in Frogger, you will die, be it from an approaching truck or from getting tired and needing to take a nap. Either way, this is a sign that it is some time for self-care and renewal. Such is life:
When we feel frustrated, overwhelmed and bone tired, it is a sign we need to slow down and give ourselves some needed attention.
For me it is a bath, book, walk with the dog, movie and dinner out. For you it may be different. But whatever you need to recharge, please take the time to do it so you can be the best player in the game.
Finally, when you beat a level it is time to celebrate! I don't recommend bragging about it to your brother; however, I do believe you should share with as many friends and family as possible.
Celebrate your small successes, be it picking the kids up on time, getting a great performance review at work or finally cleaning out that closet that you have been staring at for years.
Maybe you play a little Frogger??
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[This article does not create a client-counselor relationship. This article is general counseling information and is not to be considered legal or medical advice. Please consult with your mental health professional before you rely on this information.]