September 16, 2008
To Race or not to Race?
The other day at a party I overheard a group of people saying, “The one thing I dislike about living in our neighborhood is all of the competition”. They cited many examples , for instance camping out the night before the first day of registration for pre-school to get your child enrolled, driving the right car, getting your home to look like a model home, having the most friends, and so on and so forth.
I completely empathized with them. I dislike this as well, it’s pre-school darn it, not Harvard! I have kids! how do you expect me to live in a model home with three kids, and no, I don’t have 2000 friends on facebook I only have 100. Where does all of this pressure come from? Have we become so shallow that we expect and expect others to live up to perfection? Are we filling our empty lonely souls with things? Since when did we become such an unforgiving society?
It seems as though there are so many unhappy people out there trying to do it all, have the perfect career, house, husband, kids and really ,we are all just suffering on the inside and too proud to admit that all of this “keeping up with the Jone’s” is exhausting us and we are still not happy. At the end of the day we are all still just seeking emotional bliss, and we are paving a well intentioned road to hell for ourselves. If someone is in a place where he or she has the need to find perfection in their life, well OK, that is where they are at, should I not be friends with them? Or try desperately to keep up with, well, “The Jone’s”. No, I choose not to compete. Does this mean I give up and just let my life go into a state of disarray, of course not.
What it does mean is that I love people for what they are and love myself for who I am. If someone judges me because I have toys spread out all over my house and it sounds and looks like a crazy daycare center, well then that is something they deal with. I am choosing to be OK with what I am doing in my life right now even if that means my windows have yogurt hand prints on them. Someday my house may look like a model home but today it is preschool/ yogurt art gallery.
We must embrace the alterations that life delivers us and be OK with what is happening right now and know and be comfortable with the fact that everything in life changes. You are not a messy house, diaper changer, cafeteria worker or a messy mini van driver, these are just the tasks that you perform, it does not define who you are as a person.
My son was asking me for something the other day and I immediately said “no” and he proceeded to tell me “Mommy, things change, you know, like a caterpillar changes into a butterfly’. Well I gave him whatever it was he wanted because my three year old is right, things do change and you never know, if you stay open minded you may end going from a caterpillar to a butterfly, a change I think most of us would love.
Think of all of this competition like running or any sport. Be a good recreational runner, you don’t have to run a marathon or be an elite athlete to be feel good about yourself. Choose not to compete, but if you do choose to compete, be sure that you don’t complain if you don’t run the fastest or have the best gear and, be a good sport to those who do. People enter races all of the time without the intention of winning. They are OK with just finishing or walking if they must. Not all of us are going to be an Olympian at everything we do and that should be OK with us.
Stop trying to keep up with your neighbors, stop competing with them and begin to compete with yourself. I think you will find that everything in your life begins to bring a smile to your face, yes , that’s right, “happiness”, that thing you were so tirelessly looking for before. Oh and guess what? You may end up being the butterfly who finishes in first place.