Happiness is a Game of Marbles

By Derek Oudit

For many, especially those of us over 50 years old, a greater wish than “a piece of pork for Christmas” is the wish for better health; mental and physical. Getting into the car, walking up the stairs, and minor physical work or chores tire us easily. We feel less and less desirous to make the effort to travel and visit; we are bored, even depressed, from lacking meaningful contact with people.

Despite our present state of health, a good game of marbles can change things!

Remember an earlier time when we were young and our mothers had to call us, even shout at us several times to come for dinner, as the game of “three holes” at the time was too “sweet” to leave. Our knuckles used to be callused permanently in those days of no TV, no internet, no video games and smartphones with which to do texting with friends only five feet away. So absorbing was the game!

Our doctors tell us to get active, get some exercise if we wish better health. But we find doing this difficult (weather, theinconvenience of travel) or costly (gym fees, equipment, even appropriate clothes).  We cannot just wish better health.

We must summon the will to become active, to start now!

How then about a game of marbles? Tell me a better way to do 40 squatsin five minutes without knowing we are doing them. Tell me a better way to be focused and engaged. It is gentle and effective conditioning exercise, equipping not only the body but also the mind for more rigorous activity and much fun and camaraderie at other times. If we cannot play because we have let things get so bad and that we cannot even bend down, at least we can encourage those who can while we work on getting back fit.

We note that this camaraderie is crucial for good mental health, from falling into boredom, for happiness. It builds what is called social capital and make us more in touch with ourselves and our communities and more cooperative with all. It builds trust and makes our lives more meaningful.

Let us gather together, small groups or large, find a bit of space and get back intoplaying the game of our younger days that kept us fit, mentally and sociallyengaged and happy.The main idea is to get active and be socially connected simultaneously.

The dollar store sells a bag of 100 marbles for a dollar or two. We will not find a cheaper game.

Let us share our marble stories. Did you ever split a marble with a hit at 5 or 6 feet? Let us jog our memory for the terms we used “puksay = Poussez = push, tors”.Let us tell the younger ones about the different marble games we played from three holes to rings. Let us hear what may be the best surfaces for playing marbles indoors or outdoors under Canadian conditions.Can we have competitions as we do for “All Fours”?

Happiness can indeed be a game of marbles!!!