Monday, April 23, 2012
My biggest strength = my biggest weakness
If you asked me in one word to tell you why I'm still thriving today with cystic fibrosis, that word would be "competitiveness." But if you asked me what attribute of mine eats at me every day and I believe in some ways ruins my life, that would be easy too. "COMPETITIVENESS." When I was little, I was not competitive at all. I was a very apathetic kid. I accepted the fact I wasn't good at sports. I used my mom's notes to my gym teacher as an excuse not to finish in last place when we ran laps in the gym. I used my cystic fibrosis as an excuse not to get involved in team sports.
What changed that and why I am who I am
There are a number of things that I believe changed who I was. It all started when my dad and uncle got me involved in sports. Today I'm a very competitive athlete. I remember choking during a presentation in my 5th grade class and my teacher, Ms. Stansbury, called me out and said I did not prepare and gave me a D. I studied hard and was so disappointed when I could not remember the poem. It really hurt my feelings and still today when I give a speech I remember Ms. Stansbury. I remember finishing in last place in gym class. I remember a time recently in the gym when I was on the treadmill and some guy I didn't know was running faster than me. I was focused to last with the guy. When he finished, I made sure to go 5 extra seconds. That's crazy, right? I was dead but I was thrilled with the win. Do you know why I work out twice a day some days? Here's why. When I work out in the morning, there is no one there in my workout room at home to compete with. When I get to the office and find out some of my co-workers are going to the gym at lunch, I purposely forget that I worked out already and have to go tit for tat with them. It's crazy. I'm competitive with just about everyone especially my close friends and even Andrea. It's not just about sports or speaking presentations either. It could be the stupidest thing. Andrea might make dinner so I put the dishes away. A "normal" person would think nothing of that. Not me though. I have to comment how I put the dishes away. It's like "We're tied now honey." Or talking to my buddy the other day. He tells me he stayed up till 1am last night. I have to tell him I was up at 4am doing my therapy. That's me. That's my tit for tat. I hate it some days. Check out my Twitter page (AndyLipman1). I always have to write how I'm beating the odds and how CF won't beat me. Check out my LinkedIn and Facebook postings. Same thing. I think part of this could be a result of being a kid and always being stuck to do my therapy and aerosols when my friends were going out. I always had to have my parents as chaperones for field trips and I missed overnight camp and even some out-of-town trips due to my health. While that seems small to some, to me it was a big deal. I didn't play a down during out pledge football game against our rival fraternity because our brothers were worried about a lawsuit if I got hurt. I felt like I missed out. I also missed our pledge trip to New Orleans because I got sick. Again, I feel like I missed out. Still today, when I finish my therapy, I sprint upstairs to try to catch up with the "real world" or I text my friends to see what's going on. It's like during those 90 minutes the world took a 180 degree turn when in fact it didn't.
What I'm doing to resolve it
I try to fix the problem. I really do. I always let my kids beat me still I believe my competitiveness has rubbed off on them. They are always racing up the stairs and competing in everything. Part of me is proud of them and another part of me is disgusted. I say the serenity prayer each morning and each night and still talk about my competitive issues in therapy. I stand by the fact that without the competitive fire that burns in me that there is no way that I'm still on this earth, however; I know that the same competitiveness ties my stomach in knots. I have to find a happy medium. I don't want my kids to think that winning in life is the only thing that matters. I want them to know that living life is. Thanks for your time. I hope everyone is well.
Live your dreams and love your life.