The other day I was supposed to be editing photos from a recent shoot, but was instead playing Words with Friends on my phone, downloading songs from iTunes on my iPad, and, for some reason, reading a list of “Top 25 Signs You are a Type A Personality” on Facebook. What can I say? I’m a multi-tasker. Which I think was number 12 on the list. I did not need to read this list to learn that I am a Type A personality. I think the fact that my clothes are organized in my closet by rainbow color is a dead giveaway.
Do I like to make lists? You betcha! As much as I like to read lists on Facebook, apparently. Do I like things organized? Totally. Which is why having three children just about gives me a panic attack every other day. Those small people are MESSY! Do I like to do things my own way? Absolutely. Ask my poor husband how many times I’ve refolded a shirt that he just folded just because he didn’t do it the way I do.
The item on the list that stuck out the most for me was one about “turning things into a competition”. I am ridiculously competitive. Stupidly competitive. And I have no idea why I am the way I am. My parents are both normal, sane, pleasant people. They supported my brothers and I in our athletic endeavors, but they did not force us to be overly competitive. They were not the parents on the side of the field saying “suck it up, Nancy, it’s just a broken ankle, now go out there and kick some ass!” They were the parents that said “I know you have never won a tennis match. In all four years of high school. But the point is that you tried your best and we are proud of you.”
Despite my normal, nurturing upbringing, I have been overly competitive as long as I can remember. In Kindergarten I remember racing to the front of the room to be the first to turn in my “A-A-Achoo” Letter People coloring page and then sitting smugly in my desk looking around at all the losers who weren’t the first done and then quickly realizing that while they were still having fun coloring Miss A, I was bored sitting at my desk with nothing left to do. And thus began what would become many years of bored desk sitting in elementary school. No wonder I had imaginary friends as a kid. I had to have something to do to pass the time. I loved to talk to my imaginary cat Thumper “Hey, did you see that I was the first one to finish reading? And coloring? And doing my spelling list?”
Kindergarten boredom didn’t put a stop to my competitiveness, however. Growing up with two younger brothers, pretty much everything was a competition. Who could catch the most popcorn in their mouth? Who could make the most baskets with socks in the laundry? Who could push the other the farthest on the big wheel? The last one ended badly, for the record.
My “problem” didn’t improve as I got older, sadly. Which is probably how I got myself signed up for a 1/2 marathon which I am supposed to be running in 5 short weeks. Sounds exciting right? Yeah, but the thing is I really hate running. A lot. So why in the world did I sign up and pay a lot of money to run 13.1 miles? I ask myself that every day.
In order to run a 1/2 marathon, you have to train. Which means that I am running at least four days per week. Usually I run outside because then there is at least something to look at and I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Running 7 miles on a treadmill is painful. But sometimes I need to run on the treadmill because of weather. Or because then I can take my kids to the daycare at the gym and have an hour of peace and quiet. Maybe running isn’t all bad…….
One would think that running on a treadmill isn’t very competitive right? One has not met me, obviously. The poor sucker who ends up on the treadmill next to me with his headphones plugged into the T.V. watching “The Price is Right” is totally clueless to the fact that he just started racing me. While he is toodling along at a nice leisurely pace, I am running as fast as I can so that I can “win”. A race that’s not real. Which I know is illogical, but I do it anyway. Every time. And I win. Every time.
Being illogically competitive has its benefits, of course. I am virtually unbeatable at Mad Gab. Which comes in handy, like…… well, never. Unless I’m playing Mad Gab. And, since most people have never heard of the game Mad Gab, it’s really not that useful.
I will be happy when I have finished the 1/2 marathon and I will have a huge sense of accomplishment when I run it faster than I expect. How can I be certain that I will do so well? Because I am racing thousands of other people! Of course I am going to go fast! Those yahoos are GOING DOWN!!