Happy Word Nerd Wednesday! Today’s story is about a very special pet, one we could all learn from.
Neptune is a majestic Greyhound who lives with a lady named Rose. The long-legged creature is an excellent runner, but he would rather spend his days napping or sitting quietly, watching the world with calm eyes. Rose’s friends are confused by how chill her dog is. They want to play with him but Neptune would rather just sit. It makes them wonder if there’s something wrong with him.
“No, there’s nothing wrong with him,” Rose assures them. “He just has a quiet essence.”
“Quiet essence” = quiescence (kwee-ES-ints or kwy-ES-ints, depending on who you ask), meaning a state of quietness or inactivity. In other words, stillness. Neptune embraces quiescence with his quiet manner and ability to relax. His calm and quiescent nature is confusing to people because it’s not what they expect. They assume he’ll jump up, eager to play, but instead he’s generally more content with peace and quiet.
We could all learn a thing or two from Neptune. He doesn’t care what people think of him, how they expect him to be, and he’s happy to be still. So many humans would love to find some peace, but they don’t know what to do with it when they have it. It takes a special kind of skill and grace to be comfortable with stillness and silence, to let oneself drift, for just a moment, into a state of quiescence.
Granted, we’d all have issues if we simply lazed around all day. But a quiescent moment, that’s a beautiful gift if you’re ready to accept it.
I see you. I see you, working that entry-level job, wondering if you’ll ever get to where you want to be. And you, staying home with your kids, trying to figure out if you made the right decision to take a different path. And you, drowning in a full-time job that spills into every angle of your life, leaving no room for your other passions.
I see you, trying to find a way to balance your obligations with your dreams, wondering if you’ll ever find the right middle ground. And you, fighting for a future that seems so distant, so out of reach. And you, wishing you could improve your life for yourself, your family. You have dreams. You have goals.
You can achieve greatness, but it doesn’t have to be today.
I know, I know. Life is short and tomorrow isn’t promised to us. I get that, believe me. It feels like you need to run full-out toward everything you want and never stop until you reach it.
But you need breaks too. You won’t get to where you want to be if you exhaust yourself before you get there. Take a moment, step back for a second. It’s okay, even healthy, to take a moment to be still. Sure, don’t use that as an excuse to sit around expecting everything you want to fall at your feet. But if you’re always fighting for what you want, constantly striving, consider this permission to take a breath, be still for a moment.
You don’t want to worn out and broken down by the time you reach your biggest goals. So take care of yourself. Exercise. Eat your veggies. Drink water. Get sufficient sleep. Make sure when you do get to where you’re going, you’re the best, healthiest version of you so you can enjoy it.
You can achieve greatness, but it doesn’t have to be today.
Some days it might seem like your biggest achievement is just making it through the day. That’s okay. Sometimes the best thing you can do is simply get one day closer. It’s easy to underestimate the little things, but they’re important too. Not all progress is made in big, grand steps.
Sometimes you have to focus on the little things to make space for bigger things tomorrow. Every little task you complete makes space for you thrive. So do those dishes and clean those bathrooms knowing you’re still making progress toward your grand goals.
Don’t get distracted by watching everyone on social media announcing big achievements, making it seem like you’re falling behind. That’s just perception. People are quieter about the small wins. Don’t let that influence your perspective of your own life. You’re doing just fine.
Because you can achieve greatness. But it doesn’t have to be today.
I need to tell you about someone who’s incredibly important to me. Someone to whom I am fiercely loyal. It’s not my husband. It’s someone I call Future Me.
That’s right, I’m talking about my future self. I think about her a lot—the me I’ll be tomorrow or in a month or in a year. I think about her because my choices now affect her. I can make Future Me’s life harder or easier by my decisions today.
It’s an odd way to think, I’ll admit. But when you start shifting your mindset to think about your future self, it changes a lot, let me tell you.
I recently got my 23andMe ancestry and health results, and there’s a lot of information there. But probably most pertinent to me right now is one particular health result. See, according to their assessment, I’m predisposed to weigh 7% more than average.
When I dug into my raw data (yes, I’m that person) I could see what markers factored into that assessment. I have fat genes, ya’ll. So many risk factors associated with obesity.
That’s no surprise to me. I have always had to work hard to lose weight and stay at a healthy weight. My metabolism has never been great. You wouldn’t know it to look at me now, though. I’m about a size 4, presently. Some people call me skinny, although I don’t consider myself that. (Also, can we stop with the skinny vs fat labels? Honestly. Let’s not with that. It’s not helpful to anyone.)
A lot of people, especially women, look at me and think I’m just this size naturally. They make snarky comments about how I can’t possibly understand their struggle. They would be wrong. I fight genetics every single day. I do that for Future Me. I want her to be as healthy as possible.
The thing is, choices like what we eat and our level of activity don’t have immediate results. Imagine how different things would be if the consequences were instant, if the moment I ate that slice of cake my thighs grew a quarter inch. Man, it would be so much easier to say no, am I right?
But our bodies don’t work like that. Which is why I have to think of Future Me. The consequences of my actions might not land on Present Me but Future Me will have to deal with them. So I exercise even when I don’t feel like it. And I choose healthy options when it comes to food. And I try to get adequate sleep every night. And drink plenty of water. And do all those things we know lead to better health.
As I get older, my metabolism is going to slow down even more and it’ll get harder to maintain good health. I know that. And that’s why I try to do everything I can now. That doesn’t mean I don’t indulge occasionally. Emphasis on occasionally, though. Because Future Me can’t afford the consequences of a life of indulgence.
I’ve got a lot of genetic risk factors to deal with. But what’s truly wonderful is that most health risks can be reduced through a good diet and regular exercise. How awesome is that? Something I have complete control over can help Future Me live a better life. I have the power now to make Future Me’s life better or worse.
So yeah, I’m fiercely loyal to Future Me. I’m going to look out for her and fight for her chance to live well. I’ve always been willing to fight for those I care about. And I’m finally including myself in that list.