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Proud To Be A Tortoise!

Remember Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”? It’s the story of a lightning-fast rabbit and a plod-along turtle that are seemingly mismatched in a race. It was the tortoise, annoyed with the hare’s boastful assertions of being faster than the wind, that challenged the hare. To the surprise of everyone but the tortoise, (s) he wins. Well I’m a tortoise.

For most of my life, I’ve put one foot in front of the other, to get to the finish line, to achieve my goals. “Slow and steady wins the race”! One morning, as I was doing my usual jog around the Oval, a very young woman ran past me – no, she blew past me. For a moment, I watched my competitive self pick up speed to catch her, until a voice in my head asked “Why?”. I quickly did some self-talk and reminded myself of the reasons I run in the first place – not to win a race, but for the long-term benefits of health and well-being.

In a society that promotes quick fixes, instant cures, weight loss overnight, flat abs in two weeks (I could go on and on and on), it’s hard to be a tortoise. It’s hard to believe that there is value in putting one foot in front of the other daily. It’s challenging at best to keep the faith that the small steps we take will get us to our goals, no matter what they are. The night before my last birthday, I couldn’t sleep. So as not to wake my husband, I went downstairs, turned on the television, and started flipping through the channels. Within an hour I had written down phone numbers for products and services promising me flawless skin in seconds, thin thighs in two weeks, reduction of belly fat (without surgery or changing my eating habits!), and a free consultation with a former IRS agent who would assist me in reducing or eliminating my taxes. I picked up the phone a few times, but didn’t dial. Common sense prevailed.