Make your own game of LIFE
Growing up, one of my favorite board games was the Game of Life. I loved hearing the clicking spin of the wheel, and wondering what path my “life” would take. Would I end up with twins? Would I finally hit the jackpot and land on the lottery space? On the game board were spaces where you would collect LIFE tiles. Visit the Grand Canyon? Pick up a tile. Donate money to the local charity? Collect another one. At the end of the game, you flip the tiles over and add up the amount of money listed and add it to your total. Whoever has the most money at the end wins the game.
My daughter inherited my love of this board game. She asked to download the electronic version to her Kindle for long car rides. When we moved to Germany two years ago, she and I played together for almost three hours straight on the plane ride over. I tried not to be too ruthless — after all, she was only 9.
On our first trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, it was a beautiful autumn weekend. We decided to hike both gorges — Partnachklamm and Höllentalklamm. Our kids were absolute troopers on the first hike. On our second day of hiking, my daughter looked up and said, “Mom, do I really have to hike up this hill?” Rather than give her another parental lecture on how she should be grateful for the experience, I looked at her and responded, “Think of it as your LIFE token!” Her face lit up, and she giggled, delighted that she was earning a real-life LIFE tile.
Make your own Game of Life
While living in Europe is a dream come true for most, others may find they have to drag themselves out the door. For natural homebodies, trekking through the Alps or discovering stunning waterfalls in Croatia isn’t quite their cup of tea. Between planning travel and activities, a little incentive may be necessary to motivate adventure.
Since my daughter is quite a homebody, we decided to make our own version of the Game of Life. The best part about making your own game is just that — you make it your own. Achievements don’t have to be fancy, expensive vacations; they can also be life accomplishments, such as a child entering middle or high school, mastering a complicated recipe, or even something as simple as sending out Christmas cards before postal deadlines.
One evening after settling into our new home in Germany, we made a list of our top three destinations or experiences we were interested in and then combined lists. We all agreed that we could do everyone’s top choice, and then if there was enough time (and financial resources), we could attempt others on the list. Some of our LIFE tiles included visiting Camp Nou (home to F.C. Barcelona) in Spain, gazing up in wonder at the Sistine Chapel, swimming in the Mediterranean, and taking in a show at a theater in London’s West End.
If you’re creative, you can even make your own game board. If you’re short on time or not the crafty type, you can create a list and keep it posted somewhere in a common area, so everyone can see it. Cross completed experiences off the list, or add and replace as necessary. Better yet, make a portable tile to take with you to document acquiring your LIFE tile. After each destination has been visited, my daughter proudly proclaims, “Another LIFE token down!”