Lately, I've been playing poker.
It's an interesting game to me.
I, who takes pride in telling the truth and playing as few games with people as is humanly possible, really enjoy bluffing.
I love the idea that pretending you're winning can actually allow you to win.
I feel like a poker hand sometimes. Like nothing I have really adds up anything. I think we all do at one time or another. But we pretend....we bluff....so no one can tell. And sometimes, if we're good, we fool them all, and we win. Other times, we fold. Or we lose it all.
I could go on to quote a number of different ways that cards are a metaphor for life....but I think you get the picture.
One of the big differences between life and cards is this - if you bluff long enough in life, sometimes you forget you're bluffing.
Take working on a visitor center desk, for example.
Working in a visitor center can be exhausting. The people ebb and flow with the motion of a perpetual tide. The questions are neverending.
Some people can not handle working in a visitor center.
I, on the other hand, relish it. It is my bluff. My act. It makes me be a different person. A better person. No matter what is going on in my life, no matter what kind of mood I'm in, when I go out on the visitor center desk, I am at my best. Because I have to be.
A visitor to a national park does not care if I'm having a bad day. They won't even ask. If I don't give them my very best, they will judge not me, but my peers and my park.
"You're going there? Well, the rangers there weren't very friendly. We're not going back there."
So I don't have the luxury of being in a bad mood. Every contact I make with a visitor influences what they think about rangers, national parks, and maybe even the environment and conservation as a whole.
That's a lot of responsibility.
So I bluff.
And after spending even just a few minutes out on the desk, pretending to be cheerful and helpful......I become just that. And I return from my desk duty with a smile on my face, refreshed.
Not many people can say that their job makes them a better person - that their job makes them less selfish, gives them better perspective, or makes them smile more. I think mine does.
By pretending to have a winning hand, I win.
And that's no bluff.