An image of a woman on her phone.

Wordle has become my latest pandemic obsession, and I'm not mad about it. Well, I use the word 'obsession' loosely because I'm only about nine puzzles in and months behind some players, but in a time where distractions are welcome, this simple little word game is the timely entertainment we all need.

If you're reading this (or if your social media feed has been filled with yellow, green, and gray squares) and you have no idea what Wordle is all about, the game play is simple. You have six tries to guess the five letter word of the day. After each guess the tiles change colors. Gray means the letters entered are not in the word. Yellow means that they are in the word but not in the correct spot. And green means you've guessed the correct letters, in the correct location. Everyone gets the same word for the day, and there's only one. So once you guess the word (or don't) there isn't a new word until after midnight.

Wordle was developed by NYC software engineer Josh Wardle. Wardle told NPR that he originally created the game for his partner who is a fan of word games. The game started to gain popularity this past October, and by mid-January, 2.7 million people were playing the game. I can't speak for anyone else, but the sheer simplicity of the game play makes me look forward to heading back to the site everyday. Playing the game only requires a web browser (no app download), doesn't require you to input any personal information and there are no intrusive ads. Yes, please! Give me something that doesn't require me to do extra because I don't have the time.

I've welcomed Wordle into my morning routine because it's fast. Most mornings it takes me no time at all. And it definitely takes less time than it would to binge a new Netflix series. Between getting my older two kids ready for school and nursing my baby, I can devote a little bit of energy to something other than this never-ending pandemic we have been cycling through for the past two, three, what year are we on?

Variant is definitely not a five letter word so I have no fear it will pop up during my morning distraction.

Wordle has become more of something to look forward to than an addiction. And when my one puzzle is done for the day, I can go about the day pretending that I have the rest of my life together. I much prefer giving a few minutes a day to Wordle than hours to Carole Baskin…again.

I'm not going to lie, much of me joining in on Wordle was because of FOMO. "Constantly seeing the squares in our Twitter feed indicates that there is something to be solved, and others are on the case," British psychologist Lee Chambers told Business Insider. "It pulls us into investigating it ourselves."

I was admittedly pretty nosy pre-pandemic. So when those little green and yellow tiles started popping up all over my social media feeds, I wasn't about to miss the wave. Much like Pokémon Go, I had to join before the moment passed (though there are people still out there trying to really catch 'em all). But I can get with a trend that doesn't require me to walk miles a day outside of my home. It's fun to be a part of something, even when that something only lasts a few minutes.

Wordle gives me something to talk about with my friends other than the current state of the world. In addition to being competitive with myself (because Wordle keeps up with your daily streaks), I want to know how other people did when guessing the word of the day. I have a whole group chat that shares their results so we can compare how many guesses it took to get the word.

I take pride in being "the winner" even when in reality there is no Wordle competition. Still, I like to fill that small need to know how my puzzle-solving stacked up against others. Or I rant along with my friends and family because what the heck does the word today even mean? It's a fun, wholesome, and thankfully quick because I can't afford to give anything else too much time. Between remote learning from one school and waiting for COVID-19 classroom closures in the other, I'm spent.

This simple little puzzle has become a lovely distraction in the midst of chaos, and I'm welcoming it with open arms. And as I sit here finishing this article it reminds me that I have yet to solve my word for the day. Hoping today it's easier than ABBEY. Happy puzzling!


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