D. and I just came home to find her mom watching a spelling bee on TV -- totally stressful! These poor kids, competing against one another to spell words that none of us has ever heard of. As D.'s mom said, she's feeling totally inadequate in comparison.
Speaking of competitiveness: I was out this evening with a friend of mine from grad school. As D. commented on our way home, he does a really good job of cutting down any accomplishment I've made and pointing out his own superior accomplishments. For example, I told him that I'd gotten the teaching award this year, and he said that he'd gotten his school's teaching award and had declined it and sent it back to the administration in protest because it was a meaningless award. Hmm, is that an impressive political gesture or just not very nice to mention to me? There were also comparisons about how much more financial worth he had, what a more prestigious job he has, etc. Okay, I get it, I'm a loser!
However, here's something worth noting: I got the girl, I have the sweet kitty-cat, I have a good life. So I'm actually not worrying about comparison with this friend. I wouldn't trade lives with him, even if he is more professionally impressive.
Another dear friend of mine (we've known each other since high school) has more than once pointed out to me that I've got a wee little problem with comparative self-esteem, with seeing the grass in everyone else's yard as much greener than mine. This is an issue I've been working on for years, and I think I must have made some progress, because I honestly wouldn't have switched places with this grad school friend of mine for anything.