Last night a couple of friends and I went to one of those Escape Game locations. It was supposed to be a fun night. And it was. Our team was not successful in escaping the room that we were in but we had lots of laughs as we played the game.

Since our team did not successfully solve all of the clues to escape the room, we each received a sticker that said: “I (almost) Escaped”.

The Escape Game, Austin, Tx

In the game, there were 7 players. Me, the couple that I went out with, and 4 others that we did not know before we went into the game. There were 3 middle school-aged girls (best guess) and the mother of one of the girls on our team.

The girls were giggly and (sorry girls) not much help in figuring out the clues. There were definitely enthusiastic, but putting the pieces together was not their strong suit, nor could they stay focused long enough to lead us to the next clues needed to progress in the game.

I admit I had really been looking forward to going to an Escape Room game. I love puzzles and am usually pretty good at them. I really wanted to say that we escaped, not that we “almost” escaped.

This morning as I reflected on the game I realized the evening represented how I feel about life these days.

The three girls represented things in my life that I feel like are holding me back from moving forward: the loss of my best friend and the expectation of the life we should be living; the loss of the use of my body doing what I think it should be capable of if cancer hadn’t taken its toll; and other outside factors (aging parents, work, etc) that I allow to take control of my life.

Last night as the clock ticked down and the girls got more excited and loud I found myself stepping back out of the way and just watching as they tried to figure out the final clues. As I thought about why I did this I realized it is a very common reaction for me. I think I do this for two reasons: 1) to protect my body – so people don’t knock me over or knock my cane out of my hand, and 2) as an Enneagram 9, I crave peace in my life so when things get a little loud or chaotic, I retreat.

Leaning against the wall, trying to stay out of the way, was not the way to solve the clues of the game. In the end, our guide had to come in and rescue us and then he explained the clues we had not figured out or had not gotten to that would have allowed us to escape the room.

Having to be rescued was not how I wanted the game to end. I realized that I wanted team players that would have been more helpful in discerning the clues.

Lately, I have been trying to find team members who can help me figure out the clues to escape the room I have been trapped in for the last several years.

I feel like I have found some very helpful team members that can help me unlock the clues. But I also have to learn to recognize when those other voices and distractions start invading so I don’t find a wall to lean against. I realize standing with my back against a wall while life continues to give me the clues I need to unlock the mystery is no way to move forward or escape the room I feel trapped in.