I Am the Yardstick


I was enjoying a power walk by the beach on a sunny day. Listening to the ocean and feeling the sun on my face calmed me and made me feel connected. I noticed that as I approached the man walking in front of me, he increased his pace so that I could not pass him. This happened at least two more times; when I increased my pace, so did he. This man, who was bent over by age, seemed not to want me to get by him. The strand was wide enough that I could easily pass him if I wanted to, but I was not in a competitive space. I was walking for exercise and for peace of mind. So I decided to let the man walk just ahead of me and I did not attempt to pass him. He was going at a good clip anyway, so I thought he could be my pace setter.


When we approached a stairwell, he had to slow down and hold the railing so I ended up passing him. He said, "young, young, young. Do you realize you are fighting an eighty year old man?" I explained to him that I was not racing, I was just walking. He told me that he did not want me to pass him. He tried to do as much as he could at his age. I told him to walk ahead of me and I would walk behind him and not pass him. And I didn't.


After my hour of power walking was over, I walked down toward the water to listen to the ocean. It occurred to me that sometimes we can be a motivational tool for others even when we are not intending to be. We never know who is watching us and who we are inspiring. Sometimes, without intention, I am the yardstick.

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