I breathe heavily, straining a little as I contemplate the next step. Where should I put my foot so that I safely ascend and don’t twist or break anything? Where is the best place for my makeshift moss-covered walking stick, to help guide me up the difficult spots or support my weight as I climb a challenging point?
Up ahead, the dogs pull Nathan forward with joyous canine energy. Plenty of new things to smell, and an adventure they haven’t had for a while. Sarah leaps from rock to rock, a graceful mountain goat-child. Occasionally she wanders back down toward me when they lose sight, just to make sure I am following the trail.
Sometimes they stop for a view, or to explore a mysterious crack in the earth. This allows me to catch up. Sarah waits long enough for me to snap a photo of her, but then the dogs and she pull ahead, barely giving me time to catch my breath.
But I still moved forward at my own slow and steady pace.
And that’s when it hit me . . .
I am NEVER going to be the world’s best hiker or a super fast walker. But that’s okay, as long as I continue to move forward at my own slow and steady pace.
I have been reading Be Your Own Best Life Coach by Jackee Holder, and she writes:
“Accept what existential psychologist James Bugental calls ‘the nevers.’ Make a list of all the things you will never be [. . .] Far from being pessimistic there’s something comforting and disarming about embracing acceptance that leaves you free to embrace more of what you can achieve. What we may never be leaves more space and energy to concentrate our effort towards the very things we can be.”
I am NEVER going to be . . .
- the world’s best hiker or a super fast walker
- a millionaire
- a tenured faculty member
- a famous director
- a famous actor
- a leading woman in the business community
- the next JK Rowling
I’m not going to be those things, but there are plenty of things that I can and will be, even if I only move at my slow and steady pace. This doesn’t mean I won’t push myself, or pick up the pace at appropriate moments, because I can do that. But, I find, when I try too hard to keep up with others, or feel like I am holding other’s back, then I start to hate myself. I feel bad about what I perceive as my frailties or flaws.
In Slovakia I found my own pace. “Keep walking at your pace,” I said. “As long as I can see you in the distance, I’m fine. I’ll tell you if I need you to slow down.”
I never needed them to slow down. I always got where I was going in the end.
I will always get where I am going, and I will do it in a way where I can feel pride as well as enjoy the journey, seeing the sights along the way and always moving at my own pace.