Today I spent a glorious day at the beach with friends. ahhhhhh..the waves, the sun, the shirtless guys. What could be better?
I went over to the water fountain to refill my water bottle and waited in line behind an elderly lady. She noticed me, took her only slightly filled bottle out and offered me the fountain. I told her to finish first, I was in no rush. she waved away my objections, smiled at me and said “don’t you worry, I will drink a little while you fill yours up. we don’t need to swallow the entire world in one instant”.
I thanked her, filled my bottle and went back to my friends. Only later on my way home I was struck by what a powerful statement that was and how it was exactly what I needed to hear today.
We don’t need to swallow the entire world in one instant. More then that, we can’t. I’ll let you in on a secret-it’s kind of impossible. And yet how many of us spend our days expecting the impossible of ourselves? I know I do. As a young adult I find myself trying to fulfill so many expectations and feeling pressure from so many different voices in my life. My parents, my friends, my co-workers and bosses, professors, society. And my own obviously. All those little pesky and relentless voices in my head. Many days I find myself nearly crumbling from the sheer weight and noise of it all. Feeling even more pressure when things don’t turn out how or when I wanted. (And they almost never do. Life is fun that way). Countless nights spent tossing and turning in worry because I am not moving at the pace I “should” be (and who set that pace anyways can someone please tell me?)
So then this wonderful lady at the beach just came along and reminded me. We don’t need to swallow the entire world in one instant. w\We can’t get it all at once. We need to be patient and grateful for what we have in the moment. Drink the little bit of water in our water bottles and then refill. Minute by minute, just one foot after the other. That is, I think, essentially what life is. Just step by step. Sometimes you take baby steps, other times you jog, and once in a while you give it your fastest sprint. But no matter how fast or slow you’re going it’s always one step after the other.
When I feel my energy bottoming out on the last kilometer of a run I focus on my feet and my mind just chants “left right left right left right”.
Maybe that’s not a bad strategy. What do you think?