By Mike McMahan, LPC
Well, I can’t say I’m the world’s biggest Queen fan, but there is no denying their talent and long-lasting influence and popularity. The Freddy Mercury biopic is still MIA, but they are getting their own version of Monopoly. And as a guy who loves rock music and Monopoly (and wrote about the great Free Parking controversy), I’m pretty enthusiastic about this. Now somebody get on a Rush or Phish game.
BUT, I digress. We’re talking about Queen Monopoly here. You’ve probably seen this sort of thing before, as re-themed board games are sort of a cottage industry. I owned a Lord Of The Rings Risk for a while, and it was pretty darn cool. Same for Star Wars Monopoly. You know the score: all the game elements are there with the requisite nods. You know there will be a “Bohemian Rhapsody” reference in there; the only question is what will it be.
So what if your life was made into Monopoly? Some stuff would be obvious. Your job would keep you going around the board for that measly $200. (Hopefully the salary is upped for the Queen game, geez; inflation, people.) And maybe some key locations would on there too. The street you live on, maybe the street you grew up on. Some places you like to hang out, too. And then, maybe in the high rent area, some places you really enjoy visiting but get to do infrequently. For me, it would be some of my favorite places: Carlsbad Caverns, Stubb’s Backyard Amphitheater or maybe Hollywood Studios at Disneyworld. But what about the cards?
In real Monopoly, they are Community Chest and Chance. Community Chest is one thing. As a therapist, I believe in the power of social support systems and “chipping in,” so I can get behind Community Chest. But Chance? In my Monopoly game, I think I’d have to ditch Chance and go with something a little more purposeful and oriented towards strength-building. I’m not saying that random things don’t happen in life; of course they do. I’m just saying why spend time worrying about it when you can spend your time concentrating on the things you can control and ways to solve problems that are in your grasp. I’m saying you have a card deck of strengths, so use it.
Think about the ways that you have successfully coped with or solved problems in the past. For me, one way would be humor. I love some sarcasm and a good joke, and this perspective helps me get through tough times. As I stated above and many times previously, listening to music is a great coping skill. Before Spotify, I would reward an achievement with a purchase of a new album. I’m also open to reading articles to learn skills and perspectives and able to think of things rationally.
What about you? What things have you done in the past to solve problems that you might overlook until you draw the card? Maybe you’re a very caring person, which is great. But it’s more than that. You have to be able to apply your skill. Humor is fine, but it’s all in how you use it. As far as being a compassionate person, maybe you recharge your batteries by helping others. Maybe this means you have a large network of people who love and care for you and who you can turn to during a crisis. You have your strengths if you’ve gotten far enough in life to be reading this.
Life isn’t Monopoly! There’s no Free Parking in life (real life that is—The Game Of Life is for another post). The only question is what strength cards you will play and whether you’ve thought enough about your successes to identify those strengths.
Mike McMahan, LPC, is a psychotherapist based in San Antonio, Tx.
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Therapy Goes POP
Perspectives on therapy and mental health as viewed through the lens of popular culture