I Normally Hate Puzzles, but This One Changed My Mind Forever | 22 Words

There's something I just have to get off my chest... I hate puzzles. I know, it's weird, but all the chaotic pieces give me anxiety and it just feels like one more task. I see a half-finished puzzle on a table in someone's rec room and honestly, I shudder at the thought that there are people who enjoy putting them together. And for what? To just break them apart and put them back in the box after all that effort? I struggle to see the fun in that.

Well, I did struggle to see the fun in that... until I did this puzzle. Folks, this is the puzzle that singlehandedly changed my mind about puzzles. I ordered this puzzle for myself, and then immediately ordered one for my sister. So, just how did it change my mind forever? For that, I need to tell you a little about why this puzzle is so different. But I should warn you, this puzzle might make you lose faith in your brain, and that's actually a good thing.

It's not a dorky montage of 1950s Coca Cola bottles or cartoon cats holding up signs of encouragement.

This puzzle is a simple, stunning hi-res photo of planet Earth. I looked it up, and Blue Kazoo, the company that sells them, says it shows "night setting over the Atlantic from an altitude of 438 miles." Well dang. That's impressive. It turns out, I'm way more willing to spend eternity squinting at tiny jagged pieces when they come together to make a huge, gorgeous photo of our blue planet. Which brings me to my second point...

When you're done putting this puzzle together, you'll want to hang it on your wall.

Unlike its less beautiful brethren, this is a puzzle you can turn into wall art as soon as you're done which eliminates the "what now?" aspect of finishing a 1,000 piece puzzle. I've never understood people who have finished their hard puzzling work, stared at it with pride, and then smashed it all back up in the box. And now I don't have to! While we're on the topic of our psyches, I'll explain why I think it's a good thing that this might hurt your brain a little.

Have you watched the news lately? Read a newspaper?

The world is really going through some stuff right now, and it's likely you're hit from every angle with bad news. Pick up your phone to make a call and you're met with gloomy news alerts. Pop onto Facebook to like your friend's post and you encounter your crazy uncle's outrageous views. You know how to avoid that? Take a screen break and do a puzzle. Specifically, a 1,000 piece puzzle that challenges your brain just enough to distract you from spiraling about the state of humanity.

This puzzle made date night at home with my husband actually fun.

My husband and I have spent the last few months cooped up at home, waiting until we could go out again. We've ordered in, tried to make some nice date nights at our dining room table, and cooked our way through both of those popular Alison Roman cookbooks. But it wasn't until we sat down to do this puzzle together that I felt us really connect for the first time in weeks. We both got into the competitive zone, working our way from the outer edge to the difficult center vying for the best pieces. No screens, no distractions, just laughing and arguing over which light blue piece went where. 10/10 recommend.

It lived up to my expectations... and then some.

I can't stress this enough — this puzzle is really high quality. I can't tell you how many times I've ordered something online only to be disappointed. Often the stuff that looks good on the internet turns out to have been made cheaply and falls apart as soon as it arrives. But this puzzle has a really nice weight to it, high-shine glossy pieces, and is huge and stunning once it's all put together. I wasn't kidding when I said you were going to want to hang it on your wall.

And as it turns out, jigsaw puzzles actually exercise the right and left sides of your brain.

I know Netflix is tempting. Its siren song calls out to us on a lazy weekend afternoon saying "forget your troubles... come binge with me..." I'll be real with you. I am on my 3rd rewatch of Grey's Anatomy from season one again, and while I somehow still find the love lives of the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital compelling, sometimes I start to worry that my brain is rotting, So I figured I'd press the pause button and try something new. And guess what? I felt way better afterward. Putting this beautiful puzzle together was more relaxing than watching TV, and after a while, it started to feel almost meditative. Plus, it improves your memory skills and spatial reasoning.

I even took it outside for some al fresco puzzling.

I'm really lucky to live in California where the summers are hot but not wet and sticky, so I decided to take my new favorite puzzle outside. Listening to the soft twinkly sound of the wind chimes and the birds while putting this puzzle together changed my entire mood. It made me realize that sometimes you just need a super calming analog activity to break you out of your technology scroll hole.

The moral of the story? This puzzle officially turned me into a puzzle person.

I think it's time to hang up my "puzzle hating" hat and admit that I'm now a full-on puzzle person. After I fell hard and fast for the earth puzzle, I ordered one for my sister, and then immediately after, I ordered one for my niece. I'm now a puzzle weirdo and I don't care who knows it. Even better? I found out that the earth puzzle is sold as a series of 3 outrageously beautiful puzzles.