Good, better, best
What’s your favorite ____?
We are a comparative lot, we humans. I’m working on the national curriculum now and though we don’t introduce first graders to those options just yet, I know it will be staring us in the face when we get to somewhere around the fourth grade. As a traveler, I’m often asked the “what was the best” question … or favorite … or asked to say if one locale is better than another.
I usually avoid answering. I can’t choose one distinct mountain range, one country with all its cultural and natural resources, or even one meal over another! Embracing the world with arms wide open means I sometimes get poked in the ribs, stung or even a bit sick to my stomach but it’s such a diverse ride that I refuse to say no or to opt for ordinal numbers.
However, at life’s markers, it’s hard not to compare.
This birthday (July 20) was spent unlike any I’ve had before. No family — birth or chosen — near. Yes, I was with new friends enjoying new experiences, so it was grand but still very different.
And in the midst of the last week, I was dealing with that curriculum and realizing how much teaching critical thinking (or not) can shape a society, how much giving people knowledge of choices and the ability to make those choices can shape an individual, and how much I actually DO compare when I always thought I wasn’t so inclined.
She’s taking too long to say what she wants.
This is the best approach so why don’t we just agree and move on?
I’m in San Jose with hot water and restaurants to choose from while friends are walking outside at 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom and trekking through rivers to get to work.
Without warning, I’m comparing. The sneaky little varmint worms its way into my thinking and soon I’m emotionally charged — impatient, spent, guilty — any number of possibilities but are all usually boldfaced and in the minus column.
My gift to myself is to work on switching columns, to use the awareness of my feelings as a trigger for creating a more even playing field, for allowing for the very differences I say I celebrate when they just might add a tad bit of discomfort to my life.
So for those of you who wonder how my birthday was … it was … different … my first away from what and who I know best but with and where I want to know better.
And that … is good.