Slides and Steps*

*pretend it says snakes and ladders, okay?

In the town where I grew up, the playground I frequented most often had a deathly metal slide. One of those really old-school, stainless-steel terrors with a ladder at the back and a field of prickles at the base. It was horror in summer, but epic nonetheless.

I feel like many years of my life are analogous with this slide. I started the journey expecting to leap off the bottom, collect my belongings, and run free across the dangerous grass, dodging the painful minefields of clover that dominated the park.

But, instead, this happened:

My life has been a scramble down the slide, where I constantly get stuck halfway because things have never been perfectly polished the way one expects, and I get trapped at the bottom trying to climb back up. I have struggled and thrashed in the pit at the base, desperately trying to claw my way back to the surface to no avail.

And this was where I resided, for many, many years.

Until recently. When, much like something out of an evil villain’s lair in a sci-fi movie, the hidden stairs popped out of the slide, and I was able to get my hands over the edge, and stand up for the first time.

Slowly, slowly, I am climbing the steps. And now, when things come crashing down, instead of slipping to rock-bottom, I stumble down only a few steps, recover, and begin to climb my way back up again.

The stairs are infinite, and I don’t know what’s awaits at the top, but I know that life has evolved from a constant slippery slope into a staircase that I can conquer, over and over and over again.

And that, my friends, makes my life a game of snakes and ladders.

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