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Pause the Moment: Annoying . . . Or Creative?

Not even sure I should call this version “chess.”

I like to win but really hate to lose. I’ve tried to force this part of me out, but it refuses.

It’s been with me since childhood, when I cheated at board games and left the room crying after a bad round of Uno.

Though usually hidden, a chess match with my 6-year-old surfaced this pettiness.

He’s new to the game but understood that his multi-directional, single-turn, rook move was entirely illegal. And he introduced a new player to the game—the ruthless rubber band—that simultaneously eliminated four of my pawns.

Yet my king is somehow still restricted?? That unnamed part of me was going nuts.

But in that moment I faced a choice:

I could see this impromptu rulebook rewrite as annoying or creative.

So I tapped into the smell and taste of my afternoon snack as my ears absorbed his G-rated taunting. I saw the green dinosaur—the last of my pieces—he’d assigned as my king.

And with my legs feeling half hardwood, half rug, I realized I could straddle the line, too. So in a moment of gratitude, I settled on “Annoyingly Creative.” And with a small smile watched his queen capture my dino.

Ever use presence and gratitude in an “annoyingly creative” moment? Share your story below!

(Only one new mini-blog left in the “Pause the Moment” series–catch the previous one, “Late-Night Lives,” here.)