Friday, July 5, 2013

If you're going to go, go all out.

I want to live in the head of someone else for a day. Preferably, someone complacent , or with mild, achievable dreams. Feel what it's like to not want the world. To not desire to do everything , and do it well. To not care if I'm the best. Smartest. Most talented. The winner. To live life happy, but not so intensely. To have a mind that shuts out the obsessive, constant thoughts of self improvement, goals, my kids...  To never be jealous of those that are phenomenally talented at something, like Michael Jordan or Phelps, or Steve Jobs or Niels Bohr, or even the people I meet on a more personal level who are smart, beautiful, flawless. Honestly, even those I perceive as being on a level playing field with me, bother me.  If you are my equal, I am not superior. 

I have learned to repress a lot of these feelings. Partly for self preservation, partly to remain acceptable to my peers. I avoid a lot of games and competitions, so as to not ruin the fun for everyone else.  There is absolutely no such thing as playing a game "just for fun". It's always to win. I think I might have been the founder of the quote, "If you're going to go, go all out."  Anyone who knows me, knows that I sit out of activities for only two reasons.  Either, I know I am not particularly skilled or educated this activity.  Or, I know this is supposed to be a fun, laid back, non-competitive event.  

When I think back to my decision to begin swimming year round, it was because I narrowly missed high point at Level II's (the faster of the 2 championship Summer league swim meets) 2 years in a row.  After the second consecutive 2nd place, my mom informed me...and I still remember the moment and how she said it..."you know, the only kids that beat you are the ones that swim year round."  Done.  She didn't have to say one word more.  So as an 11 year old, I began my quest to conquer.  When I arrived at my first Winter meet, it was a totally different ball game.  I was in one of the first {aka, slowest} heats!  I was one of 50+ kids competing and ranked somewhere in the 40's.  Inconceivable.  I still remember panicking as I read the heat sheets.  I remember crying on the blocks of my first race.  My goggles filling with tears.  Probably my first true anxiety attack.  I remember diving off the block last, and just barreling through that race like never before...dropping somewhere in the vicinity of 5 seconds in a 50, winning my heat, and moving up more than 20 places.  It was fun.  It was a rush.  And I knew, someday soon, kids would point to my name and say, "She's the one to beat".

Secretly, in my head, I play this game everyday.  If I am hosting a party, it has to be flawless.  If I am decorating a portion of my house.  Shopping or dressing my children.  Writing.  Talking.  Card games.  Bunko.  Board games.  Bowling.  Treating a patient.  Preparing food.  All of it.  All of it is to be done so that I can look back and say, "Ya, I did my best, and it's pretty damn amazing." 

This mind set is exhausting.  It's exhausting to me, but moreover, to my family.  I am sure they would love a less intense version of Erin at times.  I just wonder what it would be like to be ok with 50%?  Seems nice, doesn't it?

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