My own personal Gauntlet
Don't get me wrong, I am probably one of the most competitive people you could ever hope (or not hope, depending on your point of view) to meet. My entire job is a competition. I take board games way, WAY to seriously, and I believe that if you looked into my past, you would notice that on more than one occassion I have challenged other couples to a sporting event "ANY SPORTING EVENT, DOESN'T MATTER, WE WILL KICK YOUR ASS!" Tennis, basketball, running...I can make shuffleboard competitive. I refer you to the time when I made our Christmas gift swap a competition in my head, which I subsequently won, under protest from other family members who complained that they didn't know it was a competition in the first place. Whiners.
Competition breeds excellence. I believe that. But I don't like the whole idea that "life is a competition." To compete within a context of a game is great. But to make life about "one upping" friends and family makes me uneasy, and upset. I like my house. I didn't buy it because it was better than yours. I like my job. I didn't go to law school so I could be "smarter" than you. And I like my blog, but I don't keep track of the comments I get vs. the comments that Undercover Celebrity gets. (you should check her out if you haven't already). I love my house because it suits me and my husband. I like being a lawyer because I like to argue alot. And write my blog in search of a single comment. My husband's after I give it to him on our anniversary.
Life should not be a competition. There is enough of that already. Life, your real life, at it's heart, should be the place you feel most comfortable, most at ease. The place you rest up for the competition...
Much as I would like to abolish "keeping up with the Jones'" it inevitably seeps into everyone's life. Everyone has friends who aren't truly happy for you when you buy the house of your dreams, or get that great job, or make that perfect cupcake. I imagine when we have kids there will be parents whose child walked a little sooner or had a bigger vocabulary at that age, and they won't hesitate to let you know about it (no doubt with a fake smile and a condescending tone). Not everyone's kid gets to be featured on Regis & Kelly's cutest babies, and I'm okay with that.
It happens, but if you don't engage and let it roll off your back, then it is something in the background that doesn't bother you that much. Most of the time. There are times when it gets under your skin. And that, my friends, sucks.
It sucks because it makes you feel bad, and it sucks because it's so unneccessary.
But mainly it sucks because I am not in the competition with you. Therefore, it isn't really a competition is it? It's really just you trying to make me feel bad. And congratulations, because you are winning...I feel bad.
I don't feel bad because your house is nicer, or you make more money. I don't feel bad because your clothes are better and you drive a nicer car, live life a little higher on the hog.
I feel bad because your own insecurity prevents you and me from really being close. And that is the real loss. I feel bad because this little competition prevents us from truly being in a great relationship. And the real kicker? You are the one truly missing out. Because I could be a great friend to you if you would just get over this jealousy. I am really a great friend. I rock.
Because when you get that great house, or that great job, or that cute kid...no one is more happy for you than me. I just wish you could be the same way.
Here's the thing though...I'm going to keep trying. For alot of reasons, but mainly because I think you are worth it. So I am going to ignore it the next time you give me a 'compliment' or you accidentally leave me out of something or exclude me. And I'm going to keep on trying, because eventually you will come around. I'm pretty sure you will...I mean, I hope you will come around. You would have to right? I mean even my little brother grew out of his jealousy after college. And he was a real pain in the ass...so you? Yeah, you'll come around. Won't you? Yeah...you will. I'm sure, well, I'm pretty sure. No, you will. I'm sure.
In the meantime, I will be over here, trying my ass off, so just let me know. Okay?