January 9, 2014

The View From Here: I Win

2014....so far so good?

It is around here, especially because I have someone I consider to be one of the "cool kids" of the blogosphere sharing her View today.

She is The Suniverse and she prefers "to remain Sunonymous". She has a husband, a daughter, a couple of cats, is highly educated and swears a lot. Translation: she's smart and funny, which equals witty, and I really like that in a person.

Somebody is going to win. It had better be me. 

I see things in black and white.

This is exhausting – it means that everything is a zero sum game. Everything. The bowl near you has more potato chips than the bowl near me? You win, even though I don’t actually like potato chips. You think you’re better than me because you like potato chips? You’re wrong, and I win, because Cool Ranch Doritos are empirically better.

This type of black and white competitiveness is great for gearing myself up for things I want to accomplish – whether that’s getting a degree or learning to knit or having a kid. It’s less fun, and less lucrative, when I focus my zero-sum ray beam eyes on actions or activities that I have no interest in. Your house is super clean? My house will be super cleaner. You clean your windows once a month? I CLEAN THEM EVERY WEEK. I WIN.

As I’ve gotten older, the chemicals that provide the crazed competitiveness have diminished – perhaps, like a woman’s eggs, there are only so many available in my lifetime, and I’ve squandered those competitive eggs on things like learning how to do a yoga pose better, or spelling things faster than the person next to me. Or maybe guessing the answer when playing Charades against my 10- and 11-year-old nieces.  Actually, I don’t consider that last one squandering my competitive edge. Kids have to learn how to lose sometime.

This could be bad in the long run; I definitely am setting myself up to lose at Bingo in the nursing home. Of course, Alzheimer’s runs in my family, so I’m assuming that by the time I’m in the nursing home, I’ll just relive all those times I beat my own daughter at Candyland. Ahh, the good old days.

Anyway, I’ve gotten a bit less zero sum. I’ve started to think in shades of gray – started to realize that just because you win doesn’t necessarily mean that I lose. That life is not binary. That your success does not mean my failure; that there is more to focus on than an external barometer for success.

I’m not winning at that. Yet. But if someone is going to win at being able to see shades of gray, it is for sure going to be me. Because that is how I roll.

Wait. I may have just negated any progress I’ve made. I . . . win?

I think she'll get it figured out, don't you?

Connect with The Suniverse.

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