The Zen of LEGO in the Din of Adulting

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Life sucks.

It’s disappointing. Sad. Devastating.

Worst of all, it’s loud.

The political noise of the past year alone has been enough to drive the sanest of social warriors mad from the sheer insanity of discourse.

Fortunately, we have LEGO.

I don’t think anyone has to look far to witness the stress of a career not going in the direction they want it to or watch helplessly as a relationship or marriage falls apart. There’s an agony to seeing a family crisis unfold from hundreds of miles away and being helpless to do a single thing about it.

Fortunately, we have LEGO.

And let’s not forget terrorism. Or mental health crises. Or a plague of mass shootings that show no sign of abating and leaders who seem uninterested in taking any action against.

Fortunately, we have LEGO.

And I don’t say ‘LEGO’ to make light of any of these painfully heavy realities — I say it, literally, because it’s a sad, tragic, devastating and loud world out there right now.

And I don’t know about you, but I need a break from it every now and then.

I’ve never been to Paris, but I’ve built the Eiffel Tower. It’s part of the Architecture series which includes models like the Flatiron Building, a New York City Skyline (which features a micro-version of the Flatiron Building!), the Louvre, US Capitol, Sydney Opera House, and more.

But back to the Eiffel Tower.

It’s a 321 piece model. The base that the model sits on has a few green and black tiles, but otherwise, the tower is a mess of a grey bricks.

I can’t tell you how long it takes to piece together because that really isn’t the point (although I can say that a WALL-E and a Doctor Who TARDIS models have been the most time-consuming by way of intricacies).

I can tell you,  for the rock-living uninitiated, that there’s nothing difficult about a LEGO set, no matter how many hundreds or thousands of pieces there may be. (Nothing difficult, that is, until your monster cat scatters a collection of tiny, easily lost bricks.) Every set comes off the shelf with simple, wordless  instructions that belie a deeper truth:

Great, complex things happen one tiny (seemingly insignificant) step at a time.

The Eiffel Tower comes in a handsome black box and the instruction manual, unlike typical LEGO sets, is also a small book with facts about the life-size structure in France. Those gray bricks typically come in smaller, numbered bags — you’re instructed to open one bag, put those pieces together, then move onto the next.

Regardless of the set, I like to open all the bags at once. This is the first step in my Zen of LEGO approach. This is where I begin to tune out all the noise of the world around me and slip into flow.

You’ve probably experienced flow in one form or another. It’s when you’re concentrated on a task — you’re in the zone — and time disappears.

In light of the world today, I call it a state of bliss. My neurotic, over-stressed, anxiety-prone brain is finally settled.

The din of the world fades and I begin sorting bricks.

It’s a simple process: all duplicate bricks are sorted and clicked together by way of a single stud until what was once a disorganized mess of plastic is now a neat, tidy collection of all the pieces of a grand puzzle.

I know there are people who will scoff at the time it takes to patiently sort 321 (or more) bricks and for those people, the best equivalent I can describe is mowing the lawn. Or vacuuming. Or that side-to-side sweeping satisfaction of powerwashing the driveway.

After all bricks have been sorted, it’s now time to build. And it always starts so innocuously: random pieces coming together and forming no recognizable shape.

But the flow envelops and we trust the instructions. Brick by brick, small pieces form larger pieces, elements become structures, and an Eiffel Tower begins to emerge.

An indeterminate amount of time later (the longer the better), the model is done and the real world beckons.

I’m not saying taking an hour or two (or three or six) to build a LEGO set will fix any of the problems with the world around us, but it will help turn the noise off for a little while.

That might not sound like much, but it’s really noisy out there.

And sometimes all we need is just a little break.

Fortunately, we have LEGO.

Or sex. That works, too.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan Krumbine is a professional video editor, digital artist, and creative wizard currently quarantined in Kissimmee, Florida. When not producing content for the likes of Visit Orlando, Orlando Sentinel, or AAA National, Jordan is probably yelling at a stubbornly defective Macbook keyboard, tracking creative projects in Trello, and animating quirky videos with LEGO and other various toys.

Short stories: https://bit.ly/2XY5D7I
Books on Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/3bsqK5Y
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2RReCU0
Twitter: https://bit.ly/2VH0Vbu
Facebook: https://bit.ly/2VpnylZ
LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/2xnmk1e

http://www.krumbco.com

Author: krumbine

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