I always loved the story of the tortoise and the hare. Impulsive by nature and a fan of speed, I seem to be in a continuous state of schooling on the fundamentals of this classic fable. I admire the tortoise and aspire to grow in my own mastery of patience, but too often, I tend to find myself as the hare.
On a whim this weekend I ventured up to my family’s place at the shore in Seaside Park, New Jersey for a bit of respite and inspiration. Luckily, the timing of my jaunt up 95 matched perfectly for me to cheer for my brother at his Seaside Half Marathon on Sunday. My drive on Friday was nightmarish and only true to 95’s best bottle-necking possible; the more aggressively I drove and the harder I tried to go fast, the slower I seemed to go. Inevitably, I would get stuck in the wrong lane merging and seemed to hit every construction zone possible. My three-hour drive took me six, and my lesson in patience got a jump-start for the weekend.
My brother Nick is very much my opposite. Being around him is relaxing, peaceful, and refreshing and he gently reminds me that patience comes only with conscientious practice. Still babying my hip from last week’s injury, I practiced this patience with my body this weekend. I wanted to race, but I spectated. I wanted to hit a fast pace on my weekend bike workouts, but instead, I listened to the limitations of my body and I biked at a leisurely pace. I wanted to be productive in my work and writing, but instead, I spent my weekend flying kites, walking the boardwalk, cheering for runners and watching gorgeous sunrises over the ocean. It was wonderful. Moreover, watching Nick race his 13+ miles at a beautifully controlled pace inspired me even more and reminded me that this is what enjoying life is all about.
This week, I am going to be patient with myself and my pace of living. I am going to take the time to have coffee with a friend — without a watch and without checking my cell phone. In fact, I am going to leave my cell phone in the car. I challenge you to do the same. Turn off some of the noise in your life that speeds you up. Slow down and start to cross the road at turtle pace with me. I am certain that we won’t be disappointed inthe end result — the tortoise does always win.