I snored better than you last night

English: Trophy
Image via Wikipedia

Competitive?

Me?

You think?

How bad is it? Well, after my hip surgery I see a fellow patient, the tall, thin elegant woman who looks like she stepped out of a salon and not an OR — and she’s using….a cane. Two days after surgery. A cane!

I’m on crutches.

We instantly compare notes on how much Tylenol (none. Yay!) each of us is taking. Holy hell….two middle-aged women, strangers in a hallway, and our competitive instincts kick right back into high gear.

I just discovered the joys of playing Scrabble on the computer. Except — excuse me?! — when the CPU is kicking my ass with words I have never heard of. Ever. Anywhere. (Wive. Wive?!)

I’m being beaten by an algorithm. Shit!

I grew up, as many of us do, in a family whose behaviors channel an almost relentless urge to be better than, whether in sports, work, creativity, acquisitions. My Dad and I are mad for antiques, and luckily we collect in different categories as I’d hate to be bidding against him; we once both bought brass beds at the same auction.

My two half-brothers, one 23 years younger, one 10 years my junior, (and I) have all been nationally ranked athletes. Sports are a great way to channel all that excess energy and zeal, as long as (and you do) you learn how to lose. Gracefully.

Hah!

It’s not that I’m addicted to winning, or feel humiliated when I lose. I just like to know I’ve given my very best.

I sometimes wonder how (or if) to turn off, or modulate, my competitive spirit, but I also know it keeps me sharp.

Are you competitive?

Do you like this in yourself?

7 thoughts on “I snored better than you last night

  1. No Tylenol already? Wow, You are a super woman. I’d be completely amped up on every pharmaceutical available if I’d just had major surgery. As always, what a funny and interesting post you’ve written. I know how you feel about having an algorithm beat you. But don’t think of it that way. No, the algorithm challenged you.

    It’s interesting that you bring up the issue of competition because it’s a topic I’ve discussed with a couple new blogging friends I’ve made over the last couple of weeks. In general, I’m not competitive, but I’m a fairly aggressive person – certainly not passive in going after what I want. People are usually surprised that I’m not more competitive because of my strong personality, but growing up, I was a super nerd. This sounds extraordinarily pompous, but as the smartest kid in my class for many years, I didn’t have any competition. I know…this chick is so full of herself, right? Trust me, I didn’t feel that way as I watched my lunchbox sail out the bus window (multiple times) or cried myself to sleep because one of my classmates deliberately killed the tadpoles I’d carefully collected and brought to class. Plus, it’s critical to understanding why I’m not competitive now. I didn’t care for sports, so that relentless urge to beat someone at something never sprouted in me – on a playing field or in the classroom.

    That said, I like to win as much as anyone. My parents always drove it into my head (sometimes, I think with a large stake and a hammer) to be the best. If I brought home an A, the immediate question was, “Why isn’t this an A+?” Still, any desire to be the best in my class came from parental pressure and a desire to live up to expectations. However, if everyone else in the class had also received top scores, I would have been thrilled. Over the years, I’ve found that not being overly competitive has lead to some wonderful collaborations with other people – my husband being the most satisfying. Matt is uber laid back, and what little competitiveness I may have possessed when I met him has dwindled over our years together. For example, games, for me, always had rules that had to be followed. No more. Not only do we often agree to ignore certain rules at the beginning of the game, we often change them as we go along. Likewise, we regularly cheat. I won’t play Boggle with Matt anymore because I either have to accept every word he jots down or spend half the night looking them up in the dictionary. Sometimes, however, we agree to make up words, like when we play Redneck Scrabble. In that case, nearly all the words are made up and/or misspelled. The only rule we have it to have fun. That’s why it’s called a game – and not work.

    Recently, my lack of competitive drive has led to some extremely satisfying collaborations with other bloggers. Why work against one another, when you can support one another and everyone benefits? Ultimately, I firmly believe there is room for everyone at the top. There’s enough readers for all of us. As as a person who used to be a brainiac, but has deteriorated to a merely clever girl on occasion, collaboration seems to be the name of the game. I’ve already learned so much from my new friends – and the joy I’ve gained through this new camaraderie beats “winning” anything.

    That said, I’m willing to bet that I do snore better than you. Louder, at least. (Sorry my comment is longer than your blog…I don’t have an “edit” button – especially when I speak!)

    1. I am sure I’ll be gulping painkillers starting tomorrow — as I (sigh) start physical therapy in earnest. I’m scared of how much it will hurt as right now it’s just the discomfort of swelling.

      I agree that camaraderie is a wise choice. I do a lot of mentoring, but have become more cautious before rushing to someone’s aid.

      In my early 20s, I faced very little competition in my field, as I’d started so early. It was a real adjustment to face competition. And having grown up as an only child I was used to being the best.

  2. I think the best person to compete against is yourself. As long as you know you are giving it your best and you make a small improvement, you are on the right track. My prayers are with you. (Painkillers are OK in this situation..)

  3. Stopping by to say, Yes, competitive here. I had HIp Arthroscopy in May 2011. getting ready to run my first Half Marathon now. and Believe you me, I was seething when I saw a woman who had her hip replaced on the very same day, get back to running her hafl Marathon oh 3-4 months earlier. It’s maddening!
    While you are recovering, you might like to check out http://www.playbabble.com its a word game with chat….no need to chat though, its like a combo of scrabble and boggle. And very addicting.
    Good Luck, have no fear, crutches or cane, you’ll soon be doing all sorts of things again!

    1. ooooh, fun suggestion. Thanks!

      I am not seriously worried that someone will “beat” me to my recovery. I do very badly want to get back to my many sports, from skiing, skating, softball to jazz dance.

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