Thursday, April 8, 2010
TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE
My morning walk, which is roughly four miles long, takes me at one point on a mile long uphill grind to a street called "Country Club Road." [Chapel Hill didn't get its name for nothing.] As I was starting up the hill, a tall young man fell in behind me from an adjoining street. He was ambling along, a water bottle dangling from his right hand and a back pack perched on his shoulders. I charged ahead, doing my maximum four miles an hour, until I got to the top of the hill. As I turned around to begin the second half of the walk, there he was, still ambling along, still about fifteen feet behind me. "Good grief," I thought, "I have been giving it all I have, while he has been loafing along, and I haven't gained a foot on him." But then I consolled myself with the fact that he was probably fifty years younger than I am. I was reminded of some advice from my forty year old son, Tobias Barrington Wolff [who is in the best shape of any forty year old man I have ever seen]. I was bemoaning the fact that at the gym, I soldiered on, walking on the treadmill, while next to me there would be someone running at twice my speed. "Dad," he said, "you have to just do your personal best and not pay attention to what anyone else is doing." As usual, I do better when I listen to my sons.