Not Everyone Can Be A Winner

I wanted to start by talking about this American Dream. But forget it - you get enough of this talk from the current election. But it got me thinking: the US has a very strong culture of winning. Trophies and constant races leave little space for those who feel comfortable without a pedestal. What does this culture leave those folks with?

I am probably the least competitive person you will ever meet. I don't care about Pokemon Go or any other game for that matter. I am not good at sports (granted very few opportunities were provided while I was growing up). It always feels like I had this comfy place inside of me and I like it. It resembles the rocking chair on my porch - it is there and I enjoy it. But for some reason when I got to the States many situations and people keep trying to make me feel bad for 'not wanting more'.

I understand the point of the American Dream, I do. And I do believe in it in some way. That said, I don't want to be a millionaire, I don't want to be the first woman president, I don't want to participate in the Olympics, or Eurovision for that matter. My inner peace allows me to put on my about-to-fall-apart Converse, open my door, step outside, and place my behind on my rocking chair. What do I do next you ask? Well, I enjoy. I don't rush and I don't think about money. I don't want to be the first at things. I want to sit in my rocking chair.

Of course I am not a flower child and I do not throw caution to the wind: I work, I pay my bills, and I budget. I work out (liar) but I don't want to compete. I blog but I am not trying to make my writing a business. I am not careless - I am centered. Or I want to believe I am. Is a capability of true and pure self-discovery really possible for simple humans? We might be just delirious. Everyone loves play-pretend.

Last time we visited Texas Andrew had to pack up his childhood room due to his parents’ moving. While sharing tiny pieces of memorabilia was so touching and so honest there was something that kept bugging me. Participation trophies and recognition ribbons were the things that got me thinking (just to clarify: my husband has a lot of 1st place ribbons and trophies as well. And no, he didn't make me write this, he is just a badass like that). Not everyone can be a winner. Not everyone will be a loser. So why is it so important to get something out of a race, a competition, or whathaveyou? Why is it so important to be recognized for ... what exactly? For taking your time? 'Cause of course an 11 year old has so much on his social calendar . The part of 'having fun' and 'enjoying yourself' got mixed up with 'recognition trophies'. And unfortunately, the trophies won. In this scenario we didn't just lose 'fun' - we lost ourselves. I am making attempts at finding me. Do you want me to feel bad about it?

This world is so fast-paced, especially in such a developed country like the US. Compared to my family's childhood stories I have no right to complain, but for the sake of this post I will a little. Growing up in Ukraine, when I needed a new shirt I had two options: black or white. And with a choice of those options came a recognition that half of my class will be wearing the same shirt. In the US you walk into a department store and how many options do you see? 100? 150? Give that shirt a quick Etsy search and you got 100 more. You end up taking 3 hours from your day to figure one which shirt will be the best for you. There goes your time in a rocking chair, your ‘me’ time, your precious minutes of discovering your place in this Universe. Or you know, an extra episode of Stranger Things.

Participation trophies do make one feel included, but isn't it better just to feel loved?

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