I believe in turtles.
I became fascinated with turtles shortly after escaping my childhood home and becoming independent at age 17. I would go out on the catamarans in Waikiki off of Diamond Head and watch them swimming so peacefully and slowly in the water; while most of the fish around them were swimming so quickly. It reminded me of people. Most of us are moving so quickly in life, if not in actions in our thoughts. Many of us spend time thinking about the past or the future; so much, we completely neglect the present. Not the turtle, he simply cruises all the time; seemingly in the present. As I got older I began to realize more and more that I wanted to be a turtle. I was tired of being angry with my mother for hating me and tired of thinking of ways to make her mad. I went through failed relationship after failed relationship; most of them ending because of domestic violence and all of them a result in some form or another of my failed relationship with my mother. When I woke up one day and realized that I must let go of the past; all of it, I began to feel more and more like a turtle. My dreams have started to come true. I got my degree and became an elementary school teacher and am now working on my Master’s Degree; no longer hearing the voices of the past telling me that I am too stupid and no good. I believe in myself and even though it took me some time to get my life together, I did it like the turtle and not the rabbit; slow and steady. I even tattooed a large beautiful sea turtle on my lower back; that looks as if he is swimming along peacefully. I am still working hard to reach my goals, but I am no longer ruled by past beliefs and thoughts. I am also no longer worried about the future. I am fully living in the present; a present that I created with my thoughts and my beliefs. I am slowly and steadily on my way to get that Doctorate degree and while more importantly stressing to my students to live like turtles. Hoping and praying to have a great influence on their lives. I tell them all the time, be a turtle, take your time with your work, make mistakes, learn from them, and move along to the next learning experience; making sure to fully enjoy the journey. The journey is everything!
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.