This past weekend when we were at the wedding, I was wondering what job the bride had had in Sacramento and then I remembered: she’d been in this fellowship I’d been rejected from. I’d totally forgotten about being rejected from that. Thanks for bringing it up.
The other day I realized/found out this guy who was in my thesis class in college, who I knew acquaintance-level well, had been nominated for and won all these big journalism awards. I read his story. It was good, but was it something I couldn’t have done? I don’t know.
I know, logically, that someone else doing well does not stop me from doing well — except in races, when only one person can win. If anything, it’s better to have important, powerful friends, right? I know that we’re supposed to be happy for other people. And, most of the time I am. I am happy for them getting cool jobs and earning fellowships and winning races and setting PRs. But, man, I’m also usually annoyed it isn’t me. Even when it’s not something I wanted in the first place.
While I can get sucked down the internet rabbit-hole of Googling people whose lives I wish I had pretty easily, it’s particularly transactional in sports. There’s only so many spots at the top. That’s just a fact. It may not be a fact we want to acknowledge, but that doesn’t make it untrue. It also can make for an interesting mental game: this is my friend, I’m going to try and beat my friend, and then we’ll be friends again. If you’re honest with yourself, it’s not a game most people play 100% well.
In a race, I’ll help people having crap days if I can and I’ll feel bad when a friend’s race goes to shit, but I’m not the only person who sizes up the competition based on how they look or sees someone with a flat and thinks, somewhere in the back of my mind, ‘well, at least that’s one less person to worry about.’ (To be clear, I don’t usually carry stuff to fix flats in races, so there’s not anything I could do to help.)
The hardest to deal with for me (and I’m guessing for lots of people who prefer not to acknowledge it) are the people who were the same speed as you, but are now way faster. How did they get faster? Why didn’t you get faster? Does that mean you should have gotten faster, but you screwed something up? Or, does it mean they were never really your speed anyway? Is there only so much speed to go around? What am I doing wrong? What’s wrong with me?
You can spend hours playing this version of the game.
I bet you think I’m going somewhere with this, somewhere that ends on a positive, uplifting note. Nope. Sometimes there’s nothing to do but say ‘yeah, that can be rough’ and laugh about how many hours you spent being reading the blogs of some girl with a crazy number of followers when she’s not even that much prettier or faster than you. Oh well. I’m sure someone who’s a better writer than I am would have had more insight, more to say. I bet they would have inspired people and lit a candle in the dark and been a beacon of hope that I could never be. Thanks for bringing that up.