I have a really ridiculous confession to make.
Ever since Zynga released it’s new game on Facebook, I’ve been really addicted to ChefVille. It combines the things I loved about all of their games I’ve played before… a little bit of harvesting, a little bit of cooking, and a little bit of friendly competition. I mean, yes, you and your neighbors essentially work together.
But see, you also compete. And you can’t say you don’t… there’s a little bitty thing at the bottom that shows how many stars your friends have compared to how many you have.
I was the first one of my friends to start playing ChefVille. I had no neighbors, nobody else playing, but of course, in Zynga games, others have to get on board in order for you to do certain things, like building buildings or unlocking tasks. I invited a handful of friends who liked that sort of thing, and we started playing together.
Because I started first, I had more mastery stars than any of my friends. But then this one player started to creep up on me. She was within a handful of stars, so I rushed to cook a whole bunch of dishes.
Other tasks went by the wayside. Not important things like feeding Zach or anything, but tasks like actually folding the laundry or putting it in my closet. I needed to level up, man! It was addicting, a total rush.
I lept in front of my friend/opponent, but within 24 hours, she was back creeping up on me. I worked extra hard and jutted ahead in the ratings again! Yay! But then she snuck up on me.
After a few days of this back-and-forth, she finally won out. For good, she won out. Sweeping ahead of me, she was winning.
At first, I was irritated. I kept thinking, “Hey. I found this game first. I work my butt off. How are you jumping ahead?” And then I thought
Wow. I’m being petty. And dumb. It’s a game. I enjoy playing it. I’m sure she enjoys playing it, too, or else I doubt she would.
I’m getting frustrated with a Facebook friend, someone I care enough about to actually have on my friends list, and I’m sitting here mentally cursing her success in a game.
And the funny thing about Zynga games is, as much as I like them, I just don’t play them for very long. I’m guessing that a month from now, I won’t even remember to open ChefVille. My dishes will sit there, virtually, waiting for me to return to my restaurant, and I just won’t come back. So why, I ask, am I letting this little bitty thing get to me so much? Something I’ll forget in a month?
Because I’m human. And we do that. We wish each other the best, a lot of times, but then secretly think about how much we wish we were in that person’s position, or wanting to get ahead. Because even though this is just a game, real life isn’t always a game. And, as much as you don’t want to admit it, there’s someone in the back of your head that you’re wanting to get ahead of, someone you’ve been competing with, even subconsciously, and you’re just waiting to get that extra step ahead of them, hoping they won’t be able to catch up. Maybe it’s at work. Maybe it’s in a hobby of yours. Maybe it’s just a silly game like this.
Envy gets the best of us sometimes. I wish I could say it was just limited to this game for me, but I always have those moments of “Dang it! She posted a pumpkin bread recipe before I did on her blog, and now everyone will think I’m copying her if I post it. This sucks!” or “Yeah, she can throw that awesome party for her son, because she doesn’t face the whole money situation like I do as a single mom.”
Guess what? I’m being a total baby. I’m whining, and saying “Why me? Why me. Why can’t I have that? Why can’t I get that? Why can’t I get there?” But you know what I’m missing on that? The work ethic.
I probably could be beating my friend’s pants at ChefVille if I would actually check it more than twice a day anymore. And I would probably have gotten that pumpkin bread recipe in on time if I would have posted it sooner.
But life happens. Things get in the way. No matter how much I want to, I won’t always be first, or best, or fastest, or coolest. Sometimes, I’m going to be in second place. Or fifth. Or fifteenth. Sometimes, I will be the Chloe to Abby’s Maddy (please tell me I’m not the only Dance Moms fan on here…).
Instead of kicking myself about it, though, I’m going to work harder. Maybe not at ChefVille (or maybe, yes, absolutely at ChefVille), but at least at looking through my calendar of blog ideas, looking through my mental file system, looking through my photos and getting that work done. Because if I set my mind to it, I can realize that I have enough, without that envy.
God didn’t make me to compete with everyone else. He made me to be genuinely happy about the success of others, and also to work hard to establish His Kingdom, in spite of myself. I let myself get hung up on little things, like who did what on facebook or on the blogosphere, and I forget that instead of worrying about my so-called “competition,” I need to worry about my own work.
It seems like sometimes I get so caught up in looking at other bloggers and wondering why I’m not them, why I’m not the next Kevin and Amanda or Bloggess or whoever else. But I’m not them. And honestly, I’ll never be them. I’m Jenni. I’m just me. I’m DigitalEraMom and I have a rockin’ blog with really cool readers.
This whole envy thing has to stop, once and for all.
I have three challenges for you today.
1) Make a list of the things YOU rock at. Don’t worry about whether or not your rocking is someone else’s second place, or anything else. Just make a list of things you’re great at, and focus on the YOU of the equation.
2) Genuinely encourage someone today, and be happy for them without envy. If your girlfriend got a new pair of shoes, instead of saying “Ugh. Why can’t *I* get cool shoes like that? She’s the worst.” tell her “Wow! Those are super cute. I genuinely like those.” and end the mental chatter about how sad you are that she got the last pair on clearance instead of you.
3) If there’s something you aren’t “good enough” at, figure out how to make that leap. If you’re jealous about your friend going to Cancun next summer and you can’t go, find the ways to cut back in your budget and afford it, or find a great staycation that IS in your budget. If you want to get ahead in your job, put in extra time and effort and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
I’ve realized that there’s a chance that no matter how hard I work at some aspects of my life, I’ll never really make it to first place. But there are also a ton of other areas that I will rock at. I’ll get to the place I need to be, and it’s okay to take that time getting there.
Don’t stress. Don’t envy. It’s all going to be okay in the end.