“Do you still play the Wordle?” my friend asked me in bewilderment at midnight on a random October day. I looked up from my phone and replied with a shrug, “Yeah? I play it every day.” As my friend’s mouth dropped open, we laughed at my absurd dedication towards a game that was once fashionable, knowing that I have never been able to consistently do something daily for as long as I have played the Wordle. I looked back at my phone, and probably on my third or fourth try, got the answer of the day: Quirk.
What a silly-sounding word. Dating back to the 1560s, “quirk” comes from the notion of twisting and slanting. Ironically enough, it means “a peculiar behavioral habit,” exactly how one would characterize the behavior of someone who constantly slants and twists in their place — peculiar. However, when you add a “y” to its end you get an adjective that I continuously use to describe myself. Not because I constantly fiddle in my seat or am unable to stand still, but because I feel like I approach life whimsically and recklessly.
Should I start writing an essay the day it’s due? Probably not. Do I still type the first word four hours before the submission deadline? Yes.
Could I travel across Europe to see a friend who I might have a crush on? I guess so. Did I? Yes.
Should I get french fries or ice cream? Why not get them both? Eat them together? Yes.
Putting my atrocious academic, travel and dietary decisions aside, I think that “quirk” and “quirky” have offered me a sense of comfort and peace — allowing me to appreciate the beauty in being unconventional and eccentric. Even when your biggest quirk is that you base your entire personality off of the color green (I’m not talking about the Grinch!), being able to ground yourself in a word is definitely calming — something I don’t think I would’ve ever done prior to playing the Wordle.
With Wordle, I have had the opportunity not only to advance my vocabulary but ponder daily about how a word relates to my own experiences and reality. In the chaos of my daily responsibilities and tasks, I look forward to having a minute or 15 to think about the answer to the game. Because while trying to find different permutations of the green and yellow letters in front of me, I get a chance to take a step back from everything else and empty my head.
I think the true beauty of Wordle is that once you’ve concentrated on what your next guess might be (because who really gets the word of the day in one guess?), you forget that you have to wake up early in the morning or finish up an assignment later in the day. I’m not saying the Wordle is a Band-aid that one can put on temporarily to patch their “problems,” but more so an opportunity to pause and take slower breaths. In a way, the routine of playing the Wordle every day, knowing how the game works and having to simply try to guess a 5-letter word, is like a breathing exercise that clears and energizes your mind.
Of course, I don’t always win. Sometimes, I can’t guess words that are too obvious, like libel (yes, I do work at a newspaper), or I use letters that I already know are not a part of the word and waste guesses. But even then, I get a chance to laugh at my stupidity, knowing that at the end of each day, my mistakes and successes are just arbitrary guesses toward my next move in life.
Whether it be getting a good grade for an essay I submitted one minute before the deadline, realizing my friend in Europe is not my soulmate or devouring the scrumptious combination of ice cream and french fries, I am defined by my mistakes as much as I am expounded by my successes. Every step I take is one closer to my end destination. Even if I don’t get it right the first time, I still have the next day, full of opportunities and six guesses.
When I play the Wordle tomorrow and the next day, I will take it lightly, whimsically and playfully, hoping to approach new experiences in life similarly, with vigor and enthusiasm.
I know I will err, or make the same guesses numerous times. Even so, at least I will have tried my best — I will be patient and focused, I will trust my instincts and celebrate small wins. And sure enough, when the time comes, I will find my five-letter word of the day.
Did you find it? Here’s a hint: I’m a ____ of the Wordle and I will play it endlessly. (Lover)