Friday, March 15, 2013

My Tortoise-and-Hare Life

While I was cleaning today, I found some unfinished projects…some things that I should have finished years ago. And I get so incredibly frustrated. Life is full of so many responsibilities and opportunities that it can be a blur. And when you have a chronic medical condition, like fibromyalgia, life can speed by at an even faster pace.

As a little girl, I was really fond of Aesop’s fables. I especially loved The Tortoise and the Hare. Besides the fact that I always wanted a pet turtle, I could easily relate to the tortoise. I wasn’t ever a really fast runner. It seemed like my friends usually left me in their dust. So, the idea of a slow creature beating its speedy competitor really appealed to me. Each time I read that fable I imagined that I was the tortoise and enjoyed every minute of my victory!

Now that I am an adult, though, I’m guilty of wanting to be more like the hare. Instead of creeping along at tortoise speed, I want to be zipping along at lightening fast speed. I get so tired of feeling like the world is constantly racing past me. I want to have boundless energy at my disposal, but unlike the arrogant, lazy hare, I want to seize the day--every day.

Still, I wonder if I would appreciate life and the little things as much as I do now if I were a hare instead of a tortoise. If I were normal without my fibromyalgia holding me back, I might be so busy running here, there, and everywhere that I might not notice the subtle side of life.

Before my major flare up, my daily schedule was so full that I had little to no time to do a lot of the things I enjoy doing. I was so stressed and exhausted that I didn’t even write, something that I can’t stop doing without affecting every other part of me. Yes, I had very good reasons to be so busy (single motherhood, college, etc.), but during those years, I always felt off somehow.

Although I despise my fibromyalgia, I must admit that it has helped to remind me what really matters in life. I was so busy pushing through today to get to the future that I completely forgot the importance of appreciating the here and now. Yes, hard work and goals are important. But we shouldn’t allow the future rob us of today. The future isn’t even guaranteed, and today is gone in the blink of an eye. If we spend all our time looking at the horizon, we miss out on all the wonderful sights and experiences along the way. Perhaps being a tortoise in life DOES have it’s advantages, even though we tortoises don’t usually win the race…

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