Gauri Sood: Words are fun, friends even more – Post Bulletin
Royal. Team. Nymph. Chop. What do these words have in common? Not much at first glance, except that they each have five letters, and therefore meet the requirement of being correct answers for the popular game of Wordle.
Every morning, New York Times geeks, vocabulary buffs, and gamers wake up early (or stay up late) to decipher the daily Wordle. A game that began in late autumn last year has grown in popularity, with now more than hundreds of thousands of people regularly trying to find the magic five-letter word.
What makes this game so special? There are hundreds of variations of Wordle, not to mention word games in general, so what makes it different?
There is always the social component; discussing the annoyance of a vowelless everyday Wordle or watching a friend struggle after figuring out that 12 different words could end in -ATCH are subjects for conversation and never-ending laughter. The game’s popularity allows it to be a talking point that is not unknown to the majority of the group, and working with a friend to solve the puzzle always keeps things interesting.
The following are the cognitive benefits. Several studies show that simple word games improve cognitive functions, memory and creativity, while activating and building the brain’s executive functioning system.
The real beauty of the game, however, is not in the conversations or the stronger neural synapses; it is the flow that we experience in the process itself. Thinking and pushing ourselves to create the next word, eliminate the most letters, and enter the correct answer with as few guesses as possible is where we find the flow that creates joy.
Strange as it may seem, the daily Wordle has shed light on a few life lessons, the first of which is the optimal mix of variety and routine. These two aspects brought together in a perfect middle ground create a balance both in life and in the five-minute game every morning. I’m always open to new music, food, activities, and people, as long as I can go back and enjoy my old favorites for some comfort time.
The second is the importance of the process instead of the end goal. As my senior year of high school begins its decrescendo, I have a myriad of tasks to complete. To-do lists sometimes seem unachievable and the prospects that the next year brings, once discussed as ideas and excitement, now find their way into reality.
The only way for me and my comrades to make sense of these changes is to appreciate how far we’ve come for a long time and savor every word we choose as our next guess as we move forward. I know that our final destinations are full of meaning and satisfaction, and that we will all find joy in our choices (as long as they don’t end in FEAR).
Gauri Sood is a senior at Mayo High School. Send your comments on the Teen Chronicles to Jeff Pieters, [email protected]