“30 Year Old Women don’t sit around working on puzzles,” the first few words were stressed, with a slight upturned “not when they should be out there trying to find a husband.” While her statement could be verified in a certain light, I also didn’t see a lot of puzzle passion sweeping across any US demographic, save for the slobbered, bulky shaped puzzles that are gifted to Einstein toddlers. People just don’t have the inclination to clear offexpansive flat areas in their homes for such a feat. They don’t seek out opportunities to dismantle tiny pieces in order to merely put them back together again. Adult life has enough of such serious, oftenfrustrating, business. But the times when I do get swept up in popular hobbies, don’t always deliver on their promises. In fact, they often ended in disaster, despite their reputation (one word: perms…the fear should be revered).
I am not a patient person. I do not tend to notice details. I do not like stopping at GO to collect my prize. But I had never put together a puzzle before, and this appeared to beas good a time as any to resolve such a horrific hobby deprivation. Not puzzle making was akin to being robbed of the throng of a plastictube circling around one’s pliant middle or the exhilaration ofjumping through orbiting strings while one skipped musically.
There was no planning beyond the goal: complete a puzzle. The 1000 piece pattern did not overstimulate. I didn’t cherish the pattern. It merely was “there,” but not in a distracting sort of way. I purchased it figuring completion would take a long weekend. That bubble burst when I ferreted out the border pieces that first Saturday morning (3 months ago!), expiring hours as the pieces grew and the simmering border proliferated larger and larger, demanding more and more surfacearea. Who knew tiny pieces would mass together to occupy such significant space?My method was haphazard—rooting through the box first for edge piecesand then sorting them into somewhat similar colors. Frequent distractions (such as, “I think I saw that piece over there’) impaired my intuition to establish some kind of technique. I often shoved pieces together in desperate attempt for connection in those earlystages because just turning pieces over didn’t satisfy enough. Aftermore than a days work, the enormity of the task dandruffed plans for a quick completion.
The process of puzzle making demands release of a checklist mentality. Moments of satisfaction glowed when an expected connection occurred,when my fingers upturned a piece randomly and its unintentional orientation triggered instant adherence. Futile efforts wasted time by my narrow focus, my forced precision often impairing progress. Whenthose little cardboard units audibly clicked, my right forearm wouldshoot up in celebration. Who knew making connections warranted such physical recognition? Within this process, I uncovered unknown reservoirs of faith. Not just with being okay with not feeling like I was making progress, but trusting the effort as valuable nonetheless. The puzzle underlines the ageless wisdom that the journey IS the destination. And the chaos of the unexpected way refines direction. In an age where out sugar-rush hobbies promise immediate gratification, in a time where we are all in a hurry to produce something of tangible worth, this 30 year old single woman found asimple pastime that feed more than a desire to be entertained. In puzzlemaking, connection is the key. It nourishes engagement—literally. And isn’t that what husband-seeking is all about?