We celebrated my daughter’s Sweet Sixteen birthday with a weekend in New York City for just the two of us. One plan of many, squeezed into a short 48 hours, was to grab a cup of coffee and have breakfast near (instead of at) Tiffany’s. We got rained out, though. The rain poured down in buckets, pounding at our umbrellas as we waded down the street to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Around us, those that didn’t have umbrellas ran for cover. Looking at someone splashing by us, my daughter said, “Mom, do you know you get wetter running through the rain than just walking?”
I actually didn’t know that, and asked her to tell me why. Apparently, the TV show Myth Busters did an experiment on running in the rain (yes, I know, where do they come up with these ideas?). The myth they were trying to confirm or bust was whether running kept you drier. It did not. Over a hundred-yard course, the data from eight trials showed that the running person got wetter than the person walking.
As I thought about that little factoid, I couldn’t help but relate it to life.
There are some people who always seem to be in a rush, hurrying through life to get onto the next thing. I know what that’s like — I do it myself at times. Like trying to stay dry by running in the rain, it’s been my experience that running through life gets you soaked with stress.
It’s the rare person who walks with grace and ease through life, even when it’s hailing down responsibilities that make most hurry. When I see people barraged but still calm, or when I myself am able to stay in that relaxed state despite it all, I study it.
It’s a unique skill that calls for attention. Those people stand out. Good leaders have that ability, as do good parents.
You would think that when Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger crash-landed into the Hudson River in New York that his voice and demeanor would be rushed. Yet recordings of the radio traffic showed that the pilot was extraordinarily calm during the entire event.
You would think that the Mom in the grocery store dealing with a terrible-two tantrum would be harried and rushed. Instead, without a word, she calmly picks up the child and leaves the store, coming back after a time-out restored peace.
Circumstances happen every day where a rushed response could immediately arise.
In fact, as I try to concentrate on writing this morning, other requests are bombarding me. My son wants to have a friend over to visit. My husband is coming in and out the house, getting ready for work. My consulting client has an immediate need and wants my input right now. My daughter is waiting for me to take her to get her hair cut before she goes back to school.
Can you relate?
When I do come back to the writing, can I do so in an unhurried way? When you feel rained on by life, can you walk instead of run?