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May 27, 2024 4:30 PM

Jigsaw puzzles

I used to love doing jigsaw puzzles. I remember the first 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle I ever finished. I was in middle school. It was a collage of stamps. It was honestly a pretty easy puzzle, but I swear it took me months. I was immediately hooked though, and people around me must have noticed it too because I started getting puzzles as gifts.

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One Christmas, I remember getting one of those huge boxes with 12 jigsaw puzzles in them, 500 - 1000 pieces each. I would finish a whole jigsaw puzzle in one day, and I was done all of them by the time winter break was over. My family would keep all the finished puzzles, intending to eventually hang them up one day. We never did. I never cared for the finished product. I just thought that putting pieces in their proper place was fun.

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I didn't really do as much jisgaw puzzling once I left college, but the craze started up again when one of the admins at work left a jigsaw puzzle out in the cafe. I thought it was just going to be a one-time thing, but when we finished the puzzle, another one was brought out. And another one after that. And we're still getting new jigsaw puzzles in the cafe today!

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My favorite one was a photo of a hot air balloon, and the reverse side of the puzzle was that same hot air balloon, but rotated 90 degrees. It was a really hard puzzle, and many of my co-workers frequently put pieces in the wrong place, and I had to fix them. I was known as one of the most avid jigsaw puzzlers at work.

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But then something happened. I don't know if I could really pinpoint when it happened, but I stopped working on the puzzles. There were too many, and I was way too busy with actual work things. GSG broke me.

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Every once in a while, I would walk over to the current puzzle, and I'd put a single piece in its place. That was all I could ever do at once. I wasn't really feeling the puzzles, but my co-workers would often work on them together, and I wanted to be a part of it. So I tried to just contribute at least one piece to each new puzzle that came out.

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And that continued for years. Once COVID hit, barely anyone was coming into the office, and the same puzzle would sit unfinished for many, many months.

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And then all of a sudden, just about a month ago, another switch seemed to go off in my brain. I was coming into work more regularly again, and I noticed that the puzzle in the office was a really pretty painting of the beach, with a turtle and a bunch of colorful seashells. I did my usual connecting of two pieces together, but instead of going back to my computer, I picked up another piece. And another. And another. I wanted to keep working on the puzzle. And the next time that I was in the office, I wanted to work on it again until it was done.

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I knew it wasn't just this particular puzzle that grabbed me, because after I finished the beach puzzle, I felt a little tinge of excitement when I saw that there was a new puzzle sitting out.