First of all, I don't really like the term. Overachiever implies that someone has accomplished something that should be over and above her talent and skill level. I live with someone who could possibly be considered an Overachiever by some, but clearly she is working within her talent and skill level. She is brilliant and talented and organized and wonderful. Just wanted to make that clear.
I wondered early on if there wasn't some kind of gene mutation at work. She was still in grade school when it was discovered that she didn't like chocolate. Then, by fourth grade she was setting her own alarm in the morning and getting up without hitting snooze. By fifth, she was organizing her closet by outfits in order of the days she would wear them. In sixth grade when Sophie joined the track team and actually enjoyed running, I ordered the DNA test.
So last night she texts me from her dad's wanting to know if she can come by early the next morning to get her running shoes. I knew what this meant. Not only was she up studying for some test that wouldn't take place for a week or reading ahead in her Government text, she was planning on rising early on a Monday to...get ready for this...exercise!
Gasp! I know! And she's not even currently on a team, so she doesn't have to. It's just because she wants to.
The thing about living with overchievers is that they have this cheerful and oblivious way of making people like me either feel like a complete loser or want to be a better person. Since I'm making myself my own priority this year, I chose to want to be a better person. I offered to go with her to the gym. When that alarm rang at 5:00 this morning and I realized I had been up way past midnight folding the 90 tons of laundry my children seem to create on a weekly basis, I realized I may be a bit of an Overachiever myself. Because working out this early on so very little sleep is waaaayyyy past my talent and skill level.
Can I just say that I had no idea how many Overachievers work out at 5:00 on Monday mornings? It almost makes me want to go back tomorrow if only to see if they will all show up again. Almost. Sophie greets the brightly lit gym full of torture devices and sweaty bodies with her usual spirit. My eyes squint against the glare as I stumble for the vending machine. Surely I can face the reality of my situation better with something in my stomach. Next to the vending machine is a comfy chair and pile of magazines for people like me who need to ease into morning.
By the time I finish the ganola bar, read a couple articles and talk my legs into heading for the torture device, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. This isn't so bad. Think of how accomplished I will feel knowing my workout is done for the day rather than dealing with the guilty mantra that normally runs through my mind--"I should work out today. I should really work out today. I really need to work out today. "
I step up to the task, push the buttons for the weight loss program, enter my age, lie about my weight (does the machine know?) and start stepping. Three minutes later, Sophie appears, glistening and happy. "I'm done. Let's go, Mom!"
I'm seriously not cut out for Overachieving.
There are moments when my children make my feel as if I've done something right as a parent--even if that something is nothing more than passing along a genetic mutation.