Walking at My Own Pace

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
  • thin
  • 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.

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32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Life in the Boomer Lane
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 09:51:32

    Wise words, indeed, Lisa. While there are many things we will never be, we are each capable of more than we think we are.

    Reply

  2. thelifeofjamie
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:43:06

    do you even want to be any of those things? A millionaire aside of course…

    Reply

    • Lisa Wields Words
      Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:57:31

      I would like to be able to join a 3 day Breast Cancer walk and not die, but that is something I can work toward without having to be the fastest walker or hiker. I would like to lose enough weight to feel healthy and happy with my body, but I accept that I will never be thin. I once wanted to get tenure, or thought I should want to be a tenured faculty member, but it doesn’t fit me anymore. I once thought I would end up directing in New York or becoming a famous actor, but those dreams have been achieved in other ways. I don’t think I ever wanted to be a business woman, but I wanted to be the speaker at some women’s conference or something in recognition of my leadership. Maybe that can happen or maybe not.

      Would I like to write a book or series as popular as Harry Potter? Hell ya! But the reality is that the system has changed, and it will be harder for anyone to become Rowling. All I can do is write, and create, and maybe publish or maybe be content with reaching my audience through my blogs. Only time will tell.

      Reply

  3. Barbarann Ayars
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:46:32

    Finding your pace is the key to getting past the nevers and forward to the things embedded in your psyche, your dna, your heart . Once the nevers are relegated to their proper place, the cans begin to shine. When you stand firmly inside yourself and see your true possibilities, you deliver. Every time. I wonder what you think attracts so many of us to dialogue with you. You trigger us to better self awareness by displaying your own.

    Reply

  4. bornstoryteller
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 12:33:10

    What role? it’s cathartic, I feel, for both sides. Sharing commonalities, hopes and aspirations, knowing others are like you, that people care, new ideas/focus points, etc..this is the role, I think, in good writing. It’s not self promoting except for helping yourself, and others, clarify their lives. When good things happen, it’s great to all experience it. When the tough times roll in, it’s not just being that tough time but reaching out for answers to change them.

    Reply

  5. Kathryn McCullough
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 13:02:01

    This is a wonderful post, Lisa. Pace is so important–an imperative for success, I believe. So glad you are realizing this.

    I wonder about some of the things you say you could never be–especially the JK Rowling part. I can see you writing the next big,young adult best seller. Maybe it’s best to say what you won’t be, but I wouldn’t eliminate things that are still within the realm of possibility.

    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply

    • Lisa Wields Words
      Jan 30, 2012 @ 14:52:07

      I hear what you are saying, Kathy, but I really don’t think it is in the realm of possible. Yes, I could write the next big, young adult best seller (and I’m not ruling it out) but I don’t think anyone will be able to follow her path. Publishing is changing too quickly, and I don’t know that it will be easy to do what she did. However, I could be the next Lisa Kramer and that will be just as goo. ;)

      Reply

  6. tricia
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 13:41:52

    How wonderful that you found your own pace in Slovakia! I think that trip gave you what you were looking for then, Lisa!!! I need to make my own list like that!

    Reply

  7. thepetalpusher
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 15:01:55

    It’s important to know who we are and what we are capable of and when we can push those limits. Good post, Lisa. Love the photo of Sarah looking up from the boulders.

    Reply

  8. benzeknees
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 15:42:46

    Love this post – it puts things in perspective. I need to make a “never” list too & then help myself understand the things I can actually accomplish. Thanks for the insight!

    Reply

  9. Andra Watkins
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 18:18:24

    Lisa, you don’t know how much I needed to hear these words today. Thank you for reminding me to take life at my own pace.

    Reply

  10. winsomebella
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 19:23:09

    I like the idea of leaving space for what we can be….dreams are necessary but sometimes they might need to be tweaked. Thanks for this reminder, Lisa.

    Reply

  11. Heather Henry
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 01:18:23

    Lisa, I can totally relate to this. I love to go walking but my short little legs can only go so fast. I walk with my boys whose one step, is 3 of mine, so I’m practically running to keep up with them. I tell them to go ahead, but they stop and wait for me, then like you said, go again the moment I catch up. Lately, I have come to realize the nevers in my life as well, and I must say, it is a bit freeing. We can embrace our nevers together and move forward with our I cans and I wills. :)
    Cheers my friend!!

    Reply

    • Lisa Wields Words
      Jan 31, 2012 @ 08:30:31

      Wouldn’t it be nice if you and I could take our short little legs on a walk together? We could discuss all our nevers and our cans and wills and dreams. We will meet again!

      Hugs,
      Lisa

      Reply

      • Heather Henry
        Feb 01, 2012 @ 11:43:12

        Lisa,
        I would definitely love a walk like that with you! That sounds like a day of loveliness and creativity. Just what I need! :)
        And indeed, I do believe our paths will cross again.

        Reply

  12. Julia Munroe Martin (@wordsxo)
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 07:28:23

    I work at this every single day… so I can relate. The problem I have is figuring out what my own pace is and trusting myself when I find it. Great post, Lisa.

    Reply

  13. Elyse
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 12:59:29

    Wonderful! I too am a slowish hiker, and hate having others wait. I love the way this post speaks to specifics and to the bigger things in life. Thanks!

    Reply

  14. Taochild
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 13:51:03

    Accepting our own limitations is a good thing. But as Kathy pointed out, there is a fine line between acceptance and defining. Should we simply accept something will never be or will it never be because we have accepted it as such and thus limited ourselves? That said, some of your never list is not actually accepting a limitation, but redefining priorities. And THAT may be the true path of wisdom. Is wealth and fame really all that important? Or tenure? It seems that as you wander your path your goals are changing, even though the path remains constant. That is one of the great values of taking your time. Race to the end of the path and you may actually not end up where you truly should be. And miss much along the way as well!

    P.S. Great hiking spot isn’t it? :)

    Reply

    • Lisa Wields Words
      Jan 31, 2012 @ 13:54:28

      That’s the whole point of stating your nevers–redefining priorities. And I still I didn’t limit myself by accepting that becoming JK Rowling is never going to happen. I still will write, I just do it with my own expectations.

      Reply

      • Taochild
        Jan 31, 2012 @ 15:34:38

        Was just speaking in generalities, not specifically saying you were limiting yourself. Nobody can be another person or truly follow their path. We each make our own achievements in the world.

        Reply

  15. ifiwerebraveblog
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 15:05:00

    I need some of your clarity. I feel very fuzzy,

    Reply

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