Even as I typed that header, my brain was arguing: How can you go any slower than you already are? This book is taking forever.
Years ago, my son made this turtle for me.
You probably recognize him. Yes, he’s that little turtle that won the race. My son made him one of those (other) times when I was feeling like my writing work was going to slow, like I was never going to cross the finish line, let alone get there ahead of that hare.
My question for today is: What race? Personally, I think the turtle had a secret– he wasn’t in a race. He was just doing his thing, putting in the time and keeping the pace real, and…getting there. Oh, he beat the hare? Yeah, but you know, that wasn’t about anything the turtle did. He didn’t change his attitude or his behavior….he walked his walk and didn’t worry about what the hare was doing.
I think I forgot about that truth this past week. I started feeling the need to race again, and the feeling like there was no way I could win, and guess what? I turned into the hare. I stepped off the track and didn’t get much done. On any of my projects.
This week, back to the turtle. I got into the right pace on Saturday, just putting in steady, relaxed time at my computer, working toward a deadline. And, yeah, I got so much done. And then on Sunday, I took the day off: drove up to San Francisco airport to have breakfast with my sisters (one of whom was flying through), and then down to Great America to spend the afternoon strolling around with my husband and then attending an awards ceremony for my son’s Science Fair.
Yes, I said strolling. At an amusement park. Rides? Nope. My husband’s ribs are still healing from that bike crash, so for us, roller coasters were out. My son went off with a friend and did all the rides where you go upside down, get drenched, and try not to throw up. (Oh, wait, that would be me.) My husband and I strolled. Normally, this would have driven both of us crazy. But here’s the thing. It didn’t. Okay, yes, we needed a cup of coffee to get into the mood, but the sky was blue, and the park wasn’t crowded, and we sat in the sun and talked about work and house projects and what we want to do with our time when our son goes down to Disneyland for a jazz festival. We ate fried food and soft-serve ice cream. We walked. And then we sat for two hours in a theater watching hundreds of kids get called up on stage to win their science awards.
We did this all calmly, happily, and without feeling like we were losing the race. My guess? We needed a day like that. Who knew?
Okay, yes, I probably knew. There was a reason my son made me that turtle all those years ago. There’s also a reason I keep the turtle around–obviously, I need a reminder every now and then.
So, at least for this week, I’m not calendering things, I’m not allotting hours here and there, I’m not getting fixated on any finish lines. I’m putting my relaxed butt in the chair, and I’m channeling the turtle. And I’m not going to worry about what that hare is doing.