Playing Snake

A few weeks ago, I went out with the 14-year-old girls I mentor for coffee. While we were there, we got to talking about games on our phone and I mentioned how when I first got a cell phone, the only game we had was Snake.

They looked at me, confused. “What’s Snake?”

So I did what any older Millennial would do: I went onto my phone and downloaded an app for it.


Screenshot of Snake ’97 on my smartphone.

Since I try to keep my cell phone relatively free from distractions (even my cell phone is minimalist), it is the only game I currently have on there. Even after I explained the game to them, I kept it and play from time to time.

Unlike the Snake I played as a teenager, I have various boards and cell phone layouts to choose from. My favorite board has soft edges: the snake can travel from the right side of the screen through to the same spot on the left. From the top to the same spot on the bottom.

Literally the only way to die is to run into yourself.

And I got to thinking this week, as I faced the busiest work week of my regular job, and the busiest freelance dissertation season I’ve ever had, all while being my first January as a mother.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, pellets appear on the screen. You “eat” them, and for every one you eat, the snake becomes longer. It moves in the same path you’ve already designated, and your goal is not to run into yourself as you seek more pellets.

Beating Snake

This week especially, it felt like an apt metaphor for the way we live. We take on thing after thing after thing, trying to remember all our commitments, trying not to let them run into each other. Every day becomes this balancing act, trying to press the buttons fast enough to keep you from dropping everything and losing it all. Except in our real-life versions, the pellets don’t show up one at a time. They show up all at once, begging us from all angles to add thing after thing to our already monstrous to-do lists.

I mentioned in my goals for 2015 post that my “word” for the year is intentionality. I want to be intentional about what items get added to my to-do list. As the year continues, I want to make sure I’m living out this word: looking at the things I agree to do and making sure that I can do them. Not in 70-hour work weeks, either, but in reasonable chunks that leave me time to relax, to read, and to spend time with the people who matter most to me.

Less than three weeks into January, I have already started this process and I can’t wait to share all the exciting changes I have coming up this year.

In what ways do you feel like that snake, chasing its tail and spending your time just trying not to get in your own way? How do you overcome it?


  1. oh I loved that game! Lately I’ve been feeling this way–I was never one to get totally overwhelmed, but I’m finding between the day to day work stuff, writing, getting frustrated that I’m not where I thought I’d be by now and then trying to rush and map out a bunch of future projects, I’m def getting overwhelmed. It’s so important to remember to stop, take a breath, and take time to read and relax. And I’m also a minimalist on my phone as well. I have so few apps and I delete any that go unused after a few months. 🙂

    • Absolutely! I spent the weekend relaxing and reading, and pretty much away from my computer. It was such a good feeling. So glad to know I’m not alone in deleting apps after a few months! I need the room for pictures and video of my daughter, after all. 🙂

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