The biggest competitions are off the field

August 20, 2015

Dear Max

The thing I love about longer-distance running and the pace I run, I guess, is that the only competition I really have is between myself and my head/body, and the clock as I try to beat it. It’s hard for everyone, and everyone just gets through it.

Life however, is a different story. It feels like there’s always a different chapter on social media with people “competing” about who is the worst mom, who is the best mom, who has the most anxiety, who has the toughest work-life balance, who has the easiest life-parenting balance, who has the best partner, who has the least supportive partner, who has the biggest thighs, who has the smallest thighs, whose life is best, whose life is worst, who sat in the worst traffic, who has the biggest hangover.

Social media and even blogs are the ultimate playing field, and it’s our platform to reach the winner’s podium of despair/busyness/happiness/sadness/awesomeness.

I don’t think everyone intends to be the “best” at whatever they’re lamenting or praising, and granted, each time I rave about a holiday or good moment, or lament something crappy happening, it might also seem to others like a competition to have the happiest or saddest narrative.

But I think sometimes something happens like a domino effect, and we all “compete” with what the next person’s doing or feeling – good and bad. It’s exhausting enough keeping up with daily demands of work, family, social and self, but it’s another thing entirely to keep up as a participant, and observe as a spectator.

If this post was written by someone else and I was reading it, my first thought would probably be “Well then get off social media if it bugs you so much”. And, “Not everyone is like that”.

But as the writer, I would say to that person: “It’s not just on social media. It’s real life too. I can’t unfollow life, can I?”

My point here is that there are no winners, but that the only losses are to be found when we need to glorify the good and the bad.

My advice for getting off the playing field is to love yourself as much as possible, because then you don’t need a whole lot of validation, and it doesn’t matter where you’re placed on the podium of inane human comparison.


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