I believe in the game of poker. I will always remember the summer I stayed with my aunt when I was ten years old. After enjoying a delicious concoction of chocolate ice cream, malt powder, strawberries, and bananas, we would clear the kitchen counter and play multiple hands of poker. Of course at the time we only played with pennies and M&Ms, but I still felt rebellious gambling without my parents’ knowledge.
While I was never very good at poker, I always found that playing it safe was never as fun as putting all my pennies into the pile and risking everything. Losing a hand caused disappointment, but a big win created ecstasy. Gleefully hugging my arms around the copper mound of pennies, I would have widest smile across my face. For the rest of the night I’d proudly strut around as my prize jingled triumphantly in my pocket. After that summer, I learned to never settle for anything less than winning the full jackpot whether the prize be pennies or love.
Growing up brings new bets to the table and an array of complex hands that are dealt. I still love to gamble, but the stakes have become much higher. Gambling with your heart when it comes to relationships is more than just scary. It’s terrifying, but can be thrilling as well.
The rules of the game are seemingly easy. Everyone tries to read each other’s bluffs hoping they don’t come out empty handed. The majority of players place a few bets and eventually fold under the pressure of a raise. However, there are always those ambitious high rollers, like myself, who believe that with the bigger risk comes an extremely handsome payoff. I’d have to agree with Jackie “Mom’s” Mabley when she said, “Life is like a game of poker: If you don’t put any in the pot, there won’t be any to take out.”
I believe in aiming for the big prize and taking a chance even if it means leaving me open and vulnerable to the other players in the game. I could survive by settling on a decent relationship, but who wants to settle? Despite losing some hands, I still believe larger stakes make a relationship a worthwhile pursuit. When it comes to gambling, even though it might not be the best strategy to put all my chips on the table and reveal my cards (both good and bad), I will always take that risk in hopes of winning the elusive jackpot. Thanks to that wonderful summer with my aunt, I’m willing to bet that one day I will.
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