Be The Turtle

It has been nearly 25 years since I pushed myself to participate in a road race that was 6.2 miles long.  Like most of the thousands of other people participating, the goal was to simply finish the race and get the t-shirt.  I was at the back of the pack for a reason.  I wanted to be with the race walkers.

My jog was never a real jog.  It was a slow jog followed by a fast walk.  My strategy was simple.  Select a single race walker and stick to her like glue.  Race walkers are excellent athletes.  They practice the form and stride necessary to propel forward and walk at a pace that is very efficient and fast.

My jog would never propel me the entire 6.2 miles.  However, I could keep a fairly good race walking pace.  I just had to pick someone out to follow.  I found a lady that matched my criteria.  She looked the part with her physique.  She was actually a bit older than I was and even had on colorful clothes that I could track.

I spent the entire race keeping up with her.  She race walked the whole time.  I alternated between my slow jog and fast walk to keep up.  I was not going to let her bright clothing out of my sight.  She was going to finish, and I would be right behind her at the finish line.  The strategy worked.  I claimed my prized t-shirt and the satisfaction of completing the task.

Caregiving will be the biggest challenge and the longest race of your life.  Be assured, however, that you are much stronger and resilient than you may think.  Stay strong and stay focused on the goal.  Use tools, resources, and support groups to encourage you.  Search out people who can guide you in the race.  If it’s helpful, ask them to wear bright clothing so you can find them when you need help.

A caregiving life is not merely a 6.2 mile road race.  It is a true marathon that may go on for years.  It’s important to “train” with tools and resources to help you.  It’s important to “hydrate” with rewards and indulgences that will personally make you happy.  And of course, “load up on the carbs” with the support of friends and family to keep you going.  We don’t know how long the race will be.  We don’t even know how this race will turn out, but seeing our loved ones happy and healthy is the main goal.

Pace yourself.  You are the turtle, not the hare.  Be the speed walker, not the sprinter.  Take care of yourself first, and everyone crosses the finish line at the same time.

Via Daily Prompt: Marathon




6 thoughts on “Be The Turtle

  1. Being a carer is one of the hardest jobs ever, my husband was a carer for his wife for fifteen years, she had MS. He cared for her until he physically could not care anymore, she then went into specialist care. My Mum in law was a carer she cared for her husband until she had a stroke and then a heart attack, then he went into specialist care. My mother and my sister and I cared for my father until it was his time. Caring is the hardest job there is. Please take care of yourself, accept all the help you can get and try to find time for you. God Bless you 🌹


  2. Thank you Margaret, I’m not amazing at all I just realise the strength and dedication that it takes caring for another. I feel guilt that I did not help my mother in law more, but back then I was working full time and it was a matter of visiting, giving sympathy and then going back to my own world. He had Parkinson’s and went through a stage of dismantling everything! It was the mental pressures that she could not cope with.

    There does seem to be a point where it becomes impossible for a carer to carry on, that is the crossroads. My mum was lucky in a sense because it was my dads time to pass over, because due to her age she was beginning to fail.

    My husband now can see by placing his late wife into specialist care he helped her enormously, he then sank into depression because he felt like the meaning of his daily existence had gone.

    I don’t know you Margaret, I don’t know the circumstances that your surrounded with, but I do know that you have a life to live too. I do think we are sent challenges in our lifetime but that does not mean it has to be our life forever.

    Please forgive me if I have spoken or rather written out of turn, I just felt I needed to reach out to you. 🌹


  3. Thank you, Elaine for sharing your story. You are absolutely right. I do have a life to live, too. I remind myself of that often and am focused on the immediate situation. One day, I will do other things, but for now, I’m right where I should be, and I’m okay with that. I don’t know you either, but I do know that you are a very special person with what you have handled in your life. I always enjoy and appreciate your comments. 🙂


  4. I know. My husband has been a diabetic 43 years, and after 2 massive heart attacks, and quintuple by pass surgery, been on insulin for 22 years. He has 4 chronic illnesses, and at 83, is still with me. I am exhausted, but blessed.


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