Do What You Can

Last weekend I went to Denver for a three-day weekend. The weekend was to be fast and furious, catching the sites and catching up with my sister and her friends. It seems when you only have a short time in a city, you look at the trip differently, wanting to make every moment count. Therefore, as soon as I arrived, I quickly made my way to the shuttle counter to arrange a ride to my hotel. Well, in true hurry up and wait fashion, I was the first one on the shuttle, only to realize I’d have to wait for it to fill with other passengers. Twenty minutes later, the last passengers boarded and we were off to our respective destinations.  The two men who got on last had clearly rushed to catch the shuttle; they got on breathless as if they had sprinted all the way from baggage claim. One sat next to me, the other behind.  The man next to me, despite his 50-plus yard dash, appeared calm.  He immediately settled into the ride, staring ahead in his own zen thoughts.  His friend, however, was full of nervous energy and questions. He tapped on the man’s shoulder impatiently.

“Do you think the plans made it?”

My seatmate calmly replied, “I’m sure they did. We sent them in plenty of time.”

“Will they have time to review them though?”

“Yes. Don’t worry.”

We then rode in silence while I sat in my own world, lamenting the fact that I probably wouldn’t have time to get a run in that day. I was hoping my hotel would either have good treadmills or be close to running trails for the next day. Soon my run concerns were interrupted  by another question from Nervous Ned.

“Do you think they’ll like it?”

Not sure what “it” was, I was curious to hear what the reply from Mr. Calm would be.

“Yes, I really think they’ll like it.”

Ned was still not satisfied.

“But… we are really late for the meeting. What do we do about this?”

Mr. Calm sighed, then waited before responding.  Finally he answered in an
I’m a relaxed guy but you better not ask me any more questions sort of way.

“Well, we’ll just do what we can do.”

As in-  buddy, chill out for ten seconds, we can’t change time, move mountains, or make our clients love us no matter what, so let’s just see what happens, okay?

That made me think about my run or lack there of. For crying out loud, I had gotten up at 4:45 so I could get to the airport on time, and travel to a city which I had just three days to explore. I needed to realize that maybe a run wasn’t in the cards today… and that, as Mr. Calm, Cool, and Collected taught me… was perfectly okay.

Then I thought of the list of “to-do’s” I had written down while on the plane. Since Christmas was just a week away, I had many things to complete (actually start) before the holiday. What was I doing going to Denver for a vacation? I thought of my Superhero friends who not only had already finished their shopping, but also baked cookies, mailed cards, and decorated their homes to rival Martha Stewart herself… AND managed to work, feed children, and stay sane in the process. I started to feel like the man in the back of the van, anxious about all of the things I hadn’t done. Then I thought of all of the people I’d recently witnessed out and about in the holiday splendor… though it was “the most wonderful time of the year,” the faces I saw made me think it was more like “the most frantic time.”

The thing is, in this crazy world, we seem to make things a whole lot crazier by trying to do everything, all the time, and then do it perfectly on top of everything. Work, home, kids, fitness, finances, health, cooking, cleaning, shopping, waxing, waning, manicures, pedicures, travel, investments… the list of everything we are trying to “cover” is nothing less than endless.  Even considering this list makes me think of what I’m not doing. And this makes me feel a little crazed, to say the least.

So, as my shuttle pulled in to my hotel, I scooted past the wise, calm man to my right, and decided to not worry about “doing everything in three days,” but rather just doing what I could do… and enjoying it. I went on to have one of the most enjoyable runs of my life the next day… because I could.

Remember friends, there are only 24 hours in a day, so do what you can, and let that be enough. Life’s too short to worry about the runs you can’t squeeze in.  There’s always time for those tomorrow.

by abbey algiers

copyright 2010

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