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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My own personal Gauntlet

Last night, I was watching the season finale of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet II. I could do an entire post on this, as my love for dumb reality tv has been well documented, but I will resist for the benefit of my loved ones. Of the Gauntlet, I will only say this: at one point, one of the guys said "life is a Gauntlet", meaning that life is a competition. I am so not down with that.

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 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 you? Yeah, you'll come around. Won't 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?


Blogger Amy said...

I could never begin to compete with you, but I also have no desire to (on the things that shouldn't be competitive) - you make such a great point! It's so easy to get caught up in who has more or better and not just focus on being happy for each other!

You're awesome, and I love that you write your blog just for the one person for whom it matters most. It's coming soon!!

3:16 PM  
Blogger Josefina said...

Yeah, you put it in such a way it made me feel so bad to have felt jealousy so many times in my life!! But it's good to have these enlightments once in a while.
Sometimes one get so caught in the jealousy thing that you start to loose track of reality.
I will keep this post in mind each time I feel jealous, I promise!! (specially when it comes to my SIL!)

9:26 PM  
Blogger Clearlykels said...

I am not really competitive and do not really get jealous....I have never really understood it. I have always thought that it is something that you are born with. However, I now get more excite when I win a board game than feeling bad for those who lost... yep, some of us need to be more competitive.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

What a great post. My husband and I were talking about this very thing after catching a glimpse of Bravo's "Real Housewives of the OC" the other night. We're just not into keeping up with the Jones'.

By the way, you're the only person I know, besides me, who watches the Gauntlet. I missed in the reunion special, though, who's finally retiring. It has to be Mark. He's got to be 40 by now!

9:00 AM  
Blogger eM said...

Very good point! And really, if people don't come around, don't feel bad if you stop holding your breath. I've stopped waiting a few times and it does get easier to deal with, especially when the rest of your friends are super cool and supportive and wonderful!

It really annoys me when people can't be happy for others when good things happen to them. Even when I've been at lower times, I was really thrilled for my friends when things rocked for them because, they were my friends and deserved it and just because they got it didn't mean I was a bad person. It was just their time at that moment.

I wonder if in some ways, by being supportive of others and also being satisfied with your own life (or actively trying to improve it in some way), if you end up annoying people who are not happy and who are unable to be supportive of others. And I don't mean 'you' in particular, but people in general :)

Either way, keep up the good fight.

10:30 AM  
Blogger undercover celebrity said...

I love this post. It just makes me realize EVEN more that we would be great friends. I am JUST like you on this. In fact Mark and I were just discussing how I'm not a very good friend of insecure girls.

Let's be friends.


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