It occured to me this morning that it has been over a year since I’ve filled out a crossword puzzle. A year. While I don’t know if I would describe that as necessarily a Bad Thing, it does make me a little sad.
Since about the age of 14 or 15, crosswords were my favourite part of the paper — yes, even more than the comics, which by then had become repetitive and crappy anyway. Crossword puzzles were great! Obscure words! Useless trivia! A forced learning of current events in order to solve some clues! I’d gotten to the point where I was daring to try out the cryptic-style crosswords, although I admit freely that I rarely ever solved more than two clues per puzzle (and quite often not even that many).
My crossword love carried through the years. One of my favourite memories from my university days (lo, these many moons ago) is of a Tuesday morning ritual of meeting in a coffee shop, ordering myself an ass-bitingly strong Earl Grey, and hanging out with my then-boyfriend. There we’d be, basking in the sunshine at a tiny table, me filling in a crossword puzzle saved from the weekend’s paper, him reading or finishing a last minute assignment, or occasionally peeking over my scrap of newsprint to offer “help”.
That small “appointment”, kept every week for a term and a half, has forever tied the idea of warmth and sunshine to crossword puzzles in my head. It surprises me that even though I managed to carve out the time to create and preserve that small island of peace for myself in university, it had never even occured to me to do it for myself now, here, when I could do with a little more stillness in my life and, like everyone, a little more sun.
Possibly I’m caught up in the idea that if I’m going to be dictating non-negotiable blocks of “me-time”, they ought to be for something I “should” be doing (read: daily yoga practice, pushups, the dreaded Running). Who’s to say, though, that finding a spot for my Crossword Island wouldn’t be just as valid a first step towards a more balanced life?
It’s a ritual I should bring back into being, I think.