It’s not a competition but I’m winning

I’ve read 40 books so far this year. That’s not bad. One of my friends has read more than me. This annoys me. A lot. I know that it’s not a competition but still it bothers me. I makes plans in my head of going crazy and lapping him, which frankly is ridiculous.

I am a competitive person. I like to win at board games. I was a debater and fencer in high school and this quality made me good at both. It drove me to graduate with first-class honours. I was always quietly smug when I got the best mark on a paper and disappointed when I didn’t.

Other times I wish I could shut it off. Like when I go on Goodreads and notice that I am not winning. I have in fact read fewer books than one of my friends. I know that he listens to audio books at work. I know that I’ve read five books that are over a thousand pages long. I read what I am interested in and don’t want to let length or difficulty factor in. Watchmen takes a month to get through as opposed to a day for typical graphic novels. Reading should be entirely about enjoyment and enrichment. I don’t like those read a hundred books in a year challenges because they don’t take all those other things into account. I need to tell that voice in my head to shut up and take its smack talk elsewhere.

I have a friend that I like to go hiking with because she is the least competitive person I know. When she plays board games she doesn’t try to win (or at least not by the normal standards). To her the winner is the person who can come up with the most ridiculous answer or ludicrous strategy. Mr. Orangatang is a suitable world leader in trivia games. Hoarding all the trees in Settlers of Catan is a riot. When I hike with my parents it is a race. We have to go at a solid pace, the faster the better. With my friend the only competition is to come up with the best pose as we imitate rocks, trees and waterfalls.