Wordle was probably the last new thing I needed in my life.
Recently bought by The New York Times, Wordle is a daily challenge that allows users six tries to guess the chosen five-letter word. Each attempt filters the letters that aren’t in the word, letters that are in the word but in the wrong place and correctly placed letters. In addition, just to keep you locked in every day, it shows you your previous results, streaks and countdown clock to the next puzzle once you successfully or unsuccessfully get the word.
Basically, it’s my worst nightmare.
As someone who is trying to stop her compulsive need to continue streaks, Wordle is another daily chore that has become a problematic part of my life.
Somehow my need to further these streaks in my life has become competitive and anxiety-inducing when I don’t complete it. I distinctly remember setting reminders on my phone and forcing myself to stay up later in the night to complete these so I wouldn’t forget to do them.
Due to this compulsion, I have multiple streaks, some going back years:
Flow Free daily puzzles — 1,783 days
Flow Free weekly puzzles — 60 weeks
Roblox Bloxburg game — 842 days
iBooks reading goals — 679 days
My Microsoft Bing Rewards — 417 days
My sibling’s Microsoft Bing Rewards — 297 days
Wordle — 55 days
I haven’t really even played Roblox since middle school, but somehow, my sibling got me hooked for one day and now those daily streak apps just take up space on my phone.
On average, keeping up these streaks takes about 15-20 minutes a day, every day, for probably the rest of my life… I’m eternally grateful I never got into Snapchat.
But it’s not all bad. I still get that sense of accomplishment and reward every day I add to the ever-growing streaks, and I like routine, but they add on a lot of stress. During those few busy days when I realize I haven’t done all of them, I can feel my heart race before talking myself down or dropping everything I’m doing to complete the task.
And now, Wordle is a part of that.
However, I’m trying to limit myself and make it not as important in my mind. I haven’t set a reminder on my phone to do it, and I’ve strictly made a point to only play Wordle on my computer.
Hopefully, I will stick to those rules, but it’s really fun. It’s exhilarating to test my vocabulary and how many attempts it takes to get the word. Also, of my many streaks, this one at least has some small educational benefit — a couple of weeks ago I learned the word “swill.”
This may be a new streak I won’t be able to drop. I was introduced to it by my roommate who’s gotten my other roommates involved, too. She said that it was up my alley, and she was right. Plus, we get to share our results with each other.
It’s the first streak that I’m able to share and celebrate with friends. I don’t think I’d be able to stop it — or my other streaks. I’ve tried. I think the only way to stop would be to go cold turkey on them, but somehow, throughout my day, I manage to do it despite my best efforts to forget about them. The pressure to do it becomes too great, and I feel like I’m missing something all day.
Wordle has become the new addiction in my life, and I think I just need to accept it at this point. It at least comes with benefits. And there are worse things I could be into than a puzzle game.