The hare grows tortoise feet

by Heather


When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time. –Creighton Abrams

When I was younger, I hopped on rabbit feet. Certain things came easily to me, and I generally did those things. In college, I’d write my papers overnight, usually starting around midnight when the dorm got quiet, and finishing around 5 am or so. I’d meet my roommate, a nursing student off to the early shift, as I went to bed.

I’m not sure if it’s a hare, a tortoise, or something else altogether that takes the path of least resistance. I remember being advised in my 20s that I should direct my passion toward work worth being passionate about. My view then was that there was no way I could abandon my investment in my career (a handful of years at that point) and start over–no way! Back then, making a decision out of fear seemed a wise and prudent thing to do. Or so, at any rate, I told myself.

In those days, I’d never have wanted to identify with the slow, steady tortoise of the fable. The hare had its issues, very true–but how much better to be quick! How fatal to be slow! I’m not sure I ever stopped to examine the finish line I was leaping towards, or the path I was on.

Lately I find myself taking comfort in the slow and steady accretion of my efforts. I may not be able to give hare-like, flat-out, all-or-nothing effort to everything I want to accomplish. (In fact, I’m not willing to give that kind of effort to anything nowadays, as that way lies burnout.) But a bit at a time, steadily and without fail, offered with unwavering commitment, will indeed get me where I want to go.

I wear my tortoise shell proudly.