A friend once so aptly said: everything is a competition, right down to the cellular level. All is poised, the net result of competing forces. In the world of physics, chemistry and biology it makes so much sense. In the world of human/animal relations however, it's often a bitter pill to swallow and I don't really like the idea much better than anyone else. I always hate seeing that springbok losing to the lioness.
I don't like to see everything as a contest, however I don't believe things can really be win-win either. Resources are limited, particularly money and time, so how can everyone win? Or win as much as they would like. I hate to say it, but life feels like a zero-sum game. Whether it is shopping, dating prospects, jobs, admission to a great college, sports, games, vacation choices, ranking in your class, what you will read, the blogs you visit, what you will do with your spare time or who you will call, choosing something is not choosing something else. We are besieged with unending decisions and we must choose (or be chosen) from the competing options.
I am a competitive person by nature and so my worldview is tainted by wearing those glasses. I do love working with a team, but honestly I work best when the team is on my side. I am a poor loser so I avoid direct competition as much as possible, particularly contests I know I will likely lose. I did not know growing up that I was a biggish fish in a small pond. Like many, I had a lot to learn about the size of fish and ponds.
I came to New York City in 1969. At that time, this city was the best to me - the biggest, fastest and most amazing place I could imagine. It had the most and best of everything - restaurants, buildings, people, opportunities, culture, money, street life, intellectual stimulation, merchants. As far as places go, it won the contest and I wanted to be with the winner.
Of course I have learned much over the years - the merits of other places and other cities, the relative meaning of best and that New York City is not the end all and be all. Even in the realm of cities, it is arguable whether New York is the greatest city in the world. Places like Paris eclipse New York in many ways.
Some tire of the urban grind (see Dwanna, Duffy and I Know). Most of my friends, many born in the city, have left and with no regrets. There are quality of life issues here - so many things that are undeniably easier and better in the country, suburbs or smaller cities. For most, even if they have the means, New York will always be the stereotypical "it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."
New York City is not for the faint of heart. The stakes are higher, the costs are greater, competition much fiercer and the penalty for failure more severe. New York City is a magnet, attracting some of the world's best competitors, from gladiators in the ring right down to the cellular level...
Photo Note: New York City is not usually thought of as a city with a plethora of cathedrals and churches, as is Europe. However, surprisingly, New York City is home to the world's largest church - the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This photo was taken from the rear. You can see more photos of the interior and the story here.