The power of puzzling: ‘When everything feels out of your control – piece A fits with piece B’


Michelle Law

Absorbing, mindful and mercifully screen-free, the humble jigsaw puzzle acts as a balm in uncertain times

At some point during lockdown, perhaps in week four or week eight – I’m not entirely sure as I’ve lost all sense of time – I started doing a 1,000-piece puzzle each day. In the morning, I’d clear the dining room table, turn the TV on to something inane and get to work sorting through a mosaic of cardboard pieces until well into the evening.

I’ve always enjoyed puzzles: in preschool, I’d choose puzzles over dolls or the jungle gym, and there have been more than one New Year’s Eve spent with loved ones, tucking into bottles of wine and a puzzle as fireworks crackled overhead. But since the pandemic, I’ve completed more puzzles than ever before. And I’m not alone. In households across the country, in locked-down regions, Australians are sat on the floor or at a table, rummaging through puzzle pieces, attempting to make something whole out of something disordered.

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