I took this photo last week while we were on vacation. (I was gone – did you miss me???) We drove up to Ontario, Canada for a week, which was a mighty nice change in weather from the hot Arkansas summer. J I’ll spare you the details but just know that it is absolutely gorgeous there! I’m in love! All the lakes, and the wetlands, and such clear water!
But back to my story…
We all went out on a hike one day, and as always I was struggling to keep up with my husband and my daughter. It seems I’m always walking behind those two! I could blame it on my short legs, but my daughter’s legs are the same length as mine and she is able to outpace me every time.
For whatever reason, their pace is naturally faster than mine so I’m always pushing myself to walk a little faster – which is not really all that enjoyable for me. Instead of taking in the scenery, I’ve got my eyes on the ground so I’m not tripping over a rock or a root. And I’m always feeling I’m on the verge of being left behind.
Then, on our last day of vacation (actually, on the trip back home from vacation) I tried something new. We were walking through the park at Niagara Falls. Instead of trying to keep up, I just let them go on ahead of me. Didn’t call out to them to wait up, didn’t make any snide remarks about leaving me behind. I just walked my own pace and let them walk theirs.
And you know what? It was SOOOO much more enjoyable! Without the pressure to keep up, I was able to take in my surroundings. And they didn’t go off and leave me, either. Sure, they’d walk on ahead of me and sometimes they had conversation I wasn’t privy to, but then every now and then they’d stop and I’d catch up.
And it’s not just on hikes that I’m trying to set my own pace. I’m well into my 40s, and by this age most people are either well established or well on their way to being established in their careers. I’m blogging part time and also working part-time at the library while my friends are doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners, mega-bloggers. Smart people jobs. Career jobs. Meanwhile, I’m just starting my personal blog, and the job at the library is one that high school kids do. Way to use that Master’s degree, right?
And just like walking behind my husband and daughter, there’s a natural urge to keep pace with others’ accomplishments. A dear friend is starting law school this year, shouldn’t I do that, too? I mean, I COULD. I’m smart enough and I gotta keep up, right??
That isn’t my pace. My pace is slower, perhaps a little more scattered than that. A little of this, a little of that. But it feels right – so long as I’m not comparing myself to someone else. If it’s just about my pace – and my pace alone – I am right on target. I’ve just got to keep those other voices at bay, the ones telling me to hurry up, not get left behind.