As haphazard as I am, I have to admit that I’m a secret data fanatic. In elementary school, I used to bring my writing materials outside so I could sit on the swings and create graphs depicting all kinds of data for imaginary scenarios. The only bearable part of math class was probability and statistics. The data fascination has never left me. Beneath my spontaneous exterior is an immensely vast library of tables, classifications, rankings, and graphs. That data is vital to my understanding of the world and the impressions it leaves upon me. It gets overwhelming sometimes; one could say I spend a little too much time lost in that little library.
In the more unhealthy times in my life, I would become obsessed with rank. I had to be the funniest of the funny, the best writer in the class, the most beloved of the bunch. In ninety percent of those cases, there were no external rankings. It was all in my head–dangerously, precariously subjective. If I felt that I was only second best, I couldn’t enjoy myself. I’d only agonize over not being the very best. I jumped to the worst conclusions and believed the worst case scenario to be true.
The most valuable I learned–and am still learning–is that rank doesn’t really matter. So what if I’m not the best? So what if I am? If I’m enjoying myself and living a fulfilling existence, I see no point in beating myself over not being better. Most of the standards that plague me are just internal perceptions anyway. I am discovering what it is to be at peace with myself and the situations in which I live. Maybe there is no best after all.