Turtle’s Pace | Poems about Life
One of the most discouraging parts of life is feeling like you’re not making progress fast enough.
You’re not where you thought you’d be.
You’re not who you wanted to be.
You’re barely closer to your dreams than you were years ago.
Everything you’ve done – all your accomplishments, milestones and personal achievements – feel like they’re moving at a turtle’s pace, way behind what you expected.
I feel it myself. And I’m sure you do too. For people who are driven and who have worked hard to be successful, this turtle’s pace can be an especially painful process. It just feels too slow – and it’s exhausting.
But as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” And that mindset is especially true when evaluating your personal and professional success.
A familiar theme in poems of encouragement
If you’re inspired by poems about life, as I am, then you know this feeling is not unique. Countless poems of encouragement and inspirational poems speak of slowing down and experiencing this beautiful existence called life, one moment at a time.
But it’s easier said than done.
To feel like your progress is not moving fast enough is to also fear mortality, right? Life is so short. If we don’t reach our goals soon enough, then …. will we ever?
As Walt Whitman once wrote in To Think of Time:
To think of time—of all that retrospection!
To think of to-day, and the ages continued henceforward!
Have you guess’d you yourself would not continue?
Have you dreaded these earth-beetles?
Have you fear’d the future would be nothing to you?
But his verses of discouragement eventually turn to hope. Whitman realizes that his perspective completely changes when he slows down to appreciate his surroundings, rather than drowning in introspection:
How beautiful and perfect are the animals!
How perfect the earth, and the minutest thing upon it!
On a deeper level, Whitman’s poem does more than just reflect on the beauty of life. He’s saying that we need to focus on living in the present – otherwise, we’re not living at all.
But there are even more layers to this in the context of today’s world, where we all feel the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses.” As I allude to in my video above, having self-love and empathy for yourself are so important to overcoming feelings of discouragement …
The pace we CHOOSE to move
It’s hard not to judge our own success based on the success of others. We’re bombarded with it, on every device, all day.
I want to feel like that.
I want to look like him.
I want what they have.
And when it doesn’t happen quickly enough, we feel like giving up. Why?
If we’re constantly letting others set the pace for our success, then how will we ever be happy? Those external sources of envy don’t go away when we reach a goal. They multiply.
To achieve true self-fulfillment, you can’t judge your progress (or failures) on those terms. You can only do the best you can … chipping away at your goals one inch at a time, one dream at a time, one breath at a time. And loving yourself along the way.
It may be a turtle’s pace, but that’s the pace you choose to move.
For me personally as a voice artist – yes, it can feel slow at times. But I’m not giving up. I’m doing the best I can. And so can you.
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