Wednesday, April 2, 2014

15 Noncompetitive Things
(that are competitive in your twenties)

After I wrote yesterday’s post, I was so far down memory lane that I couldn’t get back off. Tuesday morning, after waiting patiently for ten minutes as Derrick hashed out his feelings on the HIMYM season finale, I spent 20 minutes reliving childhood Easter memories.

After reliving my past to Derrick, I realized that Easter has played a very significant role in my life. And that role is a source fierce and unnecessary rivalry. I talked yesterday about the Easter Egg Hunt of ’96, but that is only a small sample of what Easter meant to child Nicole.

One Easter in particular remains traumatizing to this day. This story takes place a few years after the ’96 debacle, at our neighborhood Easter egg decorating competition. (Why my neighborhood was determined to turn Easter into a community-wide competition, I don’t know.)

What I know is that I was determined to prove my Easter dominance. So, predictably, I gave the egg decorating contest my all. For hours the night before (or at least 25 minutes), I slaved away over a little plastic egg. I painted it white with glitter, then added a fake crack with impeccable detail, upon which I crafted a little chick with a yellow pom-pom and googly eyes. I then placed the sparkly egg and its hatched chick in a miniature basket, topping it off with more glitter and that annoying fake grass that is impossible to clean up.

It was truly a work of art. Picasso, da Vinci, Monet… amateurs compared to what my little nine year old hands had produced.

My brother, on the other hand, was not particularly interested. Showing what was actually surprising knowledge for a seven-year-old, he put a red dot on an orange egg and called it Jupiter.

The fury that boiled my blood the next day, when my brother’s red-dotted orange egg won first place while my little chick didn’t even medal, was terrifying. I had only felt rage like that once before that day, when my brother beat me in Mario Kart with a fluke turtle shell.

The thing is, no one ever prepared me for the competition that I would face Easter after Easter. Maybe if they had, I might have been able to handle occasional defeat with a bit more grace. But they did not, which is how my little pom-pom chick ended up smooshed on the ground that lovely Spring afternoon.

But you live and you learn from your mistakes, which is what leads me to the point of this post. Just like elementary school holidays, your twenties is wrought with unexpected competition. No one told me about this either, but at least I was well practiced in defeat after years of traumatizing Easters.

But for all of you out there who grew up in neighborhoods that didn’t put children against their own kind for their own sick entertainment, I’m going to give you a heads up on what to expect. A list, of course, of the competitions of young adulthood that you never even knew existed. The more you know, the better you can prepare.

15 Noncompetitive Things
(that are competitive in your twenties)

1.  Babies.  Babies are all about timing and presentation.  And if you have a picture of yours dressed up as a rose petal, you're winning.  Usually.

2.  Jobs.  Have one and you're halfway there.
3.  Pets.  For those who don't have babies.
4.  A healthy and loving relationship with your significant other.  Or at least the ability to make it look like that on Instagram.
5.  Instagram.  Well really, all social media in general.  Your number of likes directly correlates to your success as a person.
6.  Culinary skills.  If you can't cook, you don't have anything to put on Instagram.  If you don't have anything to put on Instagram, there's nothing for people to like.  And for that, I revert you to #5.
7.  Crafting ability.  Think arts and crafts ended in middle school?  Think again.  If you've never made anything with burlap, you aren't really anything.
8.  Travel destinations.  If you aren't road tripping regularly, what are you tweeting about?  And if you're not tweeting, well... you know.
9.  Brunch.  Similar to culinary skills, but taken to the next level.  A properly documented brunch is the sign of a properly lived adulthood.
10. Basic understanding of world events.  Otherwise, it'll take entirely too long to craft the perfect passive-aggressive Facebook status rebuttal.
11. Basic understanding of sports.  The key to success in the work place hinges directly on your bracket.  But you already knew that.
12. Number of engagement ring Facebook pictures.  The more angles we can see your rock, the better your relationship.  See #4.
13. Alcohol consumption.  Too much and you're still "so college."  Too little and you probably have no friends.
14. Ability to count.  Never trust someone who can't.

I'm going home tonight and won't be blogging on the plane, so I'll see you back here Friday.

Want more tea? Have a second cup!
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