Ten Years? Who has that long to play a game? Oh, come on. How long have you been playing at your mortgage? Your good friendships? Your diet?
Yeah, ten years is a commitment. Especially nowadays. Every few years has you moving to a new city, or keeping up with a new technology revolution. Things change.
But what's the power of something that stays the same?
There's a plucky Benedictine convent in west Connecticut. The nuns raise cows and blacksmith their own iron gates. One year, they were looking to expand a pasture, so they talked to a local real estate agent. "What's your time frame," he asked. "Well, a typical convent lasts between 600 to 800 years," the nun said. The realtor picked his jaw up off the dirt and said, "With 800 years, there's nothing you can't do."
Time has power. Time doesn't just poetically erode mountains and empty oceans: it makes a hobby into a career, an idea into a book, a book club into a community, a community into a force.
Each year of the Ten Year Game is self-contained. You have a whole year to dig into one of the ten qualities that you were born with: fantasy, memory, power to change things, compassion, curiosity, etc. But during that year, you also intersect with each of the other teams. Their job is to pass on a little of what they've learned, too.
So, yes, you could play they game for a year and feel like you've gotten the point. You could show up for one game and get a good taste. But stay around, and you get something more.
Ed Koch once said that staying in New York for 10 years made you a New Yorker. Homestead in this tough city for that long, and you can wear that as a badge. There's something about sticking to it, sniffing every corner of the question. Getting to know people in good times and bad, and having them know you in your own strength and weakness, too.
There's an impish idea that the only big difference between a religion and a game is how long you play it. Both call for rules you kid of have to take on faith. Both call for a passionate intensity. And at the end of the day, both only offer a reward that you can't quite take with your hands and deposit at the bank.
So play a game for an afternoon, and a religion for life. What if you chose a time span somewhere in between the two? What if you chose, say, ten years? Could you get the best of both?
This is that experiment.
YOU HAVE QUESTIONS...
...is your question here?
Seems a little weighty. Doesn’t that make for a dull game?
Who’s in charge?
The religion angle makes me nervous. See, I’m an atheist.
The religion angle makes me nervous. See, I have my own beliefs.
Why does it take ten years? I don’t have ten years to play a game.