Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - Competition

Remember comedian Tim Allen’s show Home Improvement? On it, Allen’s character, Tim Taylor, was a family man who hosted a television show called Tool Time. On this fictional show within a show, Allen’s character was always trying to add more power to anything with an engine, including a hilarious episode where he super charges the dishwasher. Its clear Allen’s character feels he is in serious competition with other men to show his manliness by making everything bigger, better and faster – arrr, arrr, arrr. Funny when it’s on television, but not so much in real life.

The Christmas cards have already started coming in and I can’t help but feel a little less than with cards that tout a trip to Russia, a family trip to Maui, updates on their summer home and more (this one’s for real, and yes, they’re happy). Why is it so easy to compare up and not look to compete to have more? Eventually I am happy for my frieds, but I momentarily become little and want to scream like Veruca Salt, “I want a chocolate river, Daddy!”

With the holiday season in full gear there are boundless opportunities to compare whose tree, decorations*, party, home, children, … are better. I don’t like to recognize the competitive side of my personality, but she rears her ugly head when I pretend that part of me doesn’t exist. Thankfully, with the help of therapy and friends, I’m learning to appreciate the GOOD things I do have, and I’m learning to value myself by my own yardstick, not my perception of everyone else’s expectations of me. Starting this blog last month has also given me a place to focus on the amazing moments in my life. I feel it. I know that I won’t have the best Christmas card, that spot has been taken up in my head by two creative friends, and my food will never compare to a girlfriend I went to grad school with who I swear has eight arms in the kitchen. My house is decorated just enough for me. My Martha aspirations will have to sit on the back burner for another year.

Along with putting this embarrassing commentary out there, I want to add that my noncompetitive goal is to spend the holiday season celebrating one of the hardest, yet most blessed, years of our life. I know 2008 is going to be amazing.

*I’m hoping this guy doesn’t have any neighbors who feel a need for some friendly neighborhood competition, or else there won't be any peace on earth.


SusieJ said...

What a funny take on competition! Sometimes I dread opening some of those letters... I never send them -- my life is too rich to sum up in one page! Susiej

June said...

What you expressed here is something we all feel. I think the poem Desiderata ought to be mandatory reading at least once a year!

tickledpink.nicole said...

June - I looked up "your" poem. What powerful words:

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Thank you for the suggestion! And thank you for taking the time to stop by my humble blog.

Granny Smith said...

A timely take on competition. I'm afraid I even compete with the gifts I give this year compared with those to the same people last year. This is a reminder to tone it down!

Just Jen said...

I would hate to have that guy as my neighbour!
I know what you mean but I'm not competitive when it comes to decorations. My sister had a little one foot tree for our Christmas party this year and I'd be perfectly content with that. However my boys have other plans. Apparently Santa doesn't come unless you have a bigger tree. So I got one slightly bigger and it sits on a table...LOL
I know what you mean by the cook with 8 arms in the kitchen! It's not competitive over here, its pure green jealousy...hehe
I liked your post alot!

doyourealize said...

Love this and can totally relate... hubby has an aunt whose Christmas newsletter is always full of nauseating fawning about her two grandchildren. They are good kids, but you'd think they are Buddha & Mother Theresa in the making... GAG! I'm always tempted to write up a newsletter that tells it like it is... my 16-y.o. just broke up with her college-aged b.f. b/c he's drinking too much, my bipolar son was hospitalized for the first time this year, we just started a new family therapist, etc. Wonder how that would go over! Hehehe! :-)

forgetfulone said...

I loved your post! That Tim Allen cracks me up. And I know what you mean about friends and neighbors who tout their family cruises and trips. Also, I was quoting Veruca Salt today. Except I said I wanted a kitten!

Robin said...

I can definitely relate. Great post.

sandierpastures said...

I also feel something awful when reading all about warm Christmas traditions in mommy blogs. The great Christmas tree than we don't have...

But the poem Desiderata (which I memorize by heart) makes me feel better:
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Oh how these lines hit home!

sandierpastures said...

BTW, thanks for visiting my other blog (where you commented my Sunday Scribblings post) at

Just Expressing Myself said...

Your post made me remember a friend who cried her eyes out because she was going to miss a family reunion.
All the cousin's kids were in medical school and stuff and her son had just dropped out of college number 2.
I watch Home Improvement reruns on TVLand and they make me laugh till I cry.
Did you see the one where Tim mismeasure the bathroom and couldn't get the jacuzzi in?
Thanks for sharing.

forgetfulone said...

I have tagged your for a meme if you'd like to participate. If not, I understand. Thanks!