This Friday morning as I got into the pool to train for my upcoming triathlon, it was particularly busy. After a few warm up laps I was bumped not once, but twice. I didn’t stop to say…hello…but as I reached the end of the pool, two other swimmers were talking with a guy sitting poolside about this hunchback old lady barreling down the middle of the lane with no regard. They too had been pushed around by this old lady.
We all noted she was much older and we just all agreed to swim circles in the other lane. This turtle, continuing to swim and not stopping with no regard at 0.005 knots just kept going. The guy sitting poolside kept saying, “That’s not fair, someone should push her into half a lane!” The 3 of us sharing a lane just let it be and managed ourselves; none of us able to get into a good rhythm for swimming.
There were a lot of frustrating [and honestly….not nice…thoughts that went through my head] but my 2011 has been about humility and grace. And as a mentor always said to me this year, ‘Be gentle.’
The guy poolside, eventually revealed this was his Mom. He did his best to talk her into making room. I didn’t sweat it, because being the slowest of the 3 swimmers, it actually forced me to keep up in this shared lane.
When I got out of the pool [mind you Mama over here was STILL swimming and barely taken any break in 45 minutes] I sat down with the guy poolside.
…turns out his Mom, the turtle, is 87 years old. 87!!!! He told me she was an Olympian for the US in the 1950’s, which he didn’t even know until he was moving her 10 years ago and came across a photo album of newspaper articles. I guess it just never came up. What a display of humility.
My favorite book this year is ‘The Compound Effect’ by Darren Hardy, where he talks about creating habits and creating ‘big MO’ = momentum. As I struggled to continuously swim for even 45 minutes, Mom over there just kept going and going. She has momentum. 87 years of it. She has been using the Compound Effect for longer than my own mother has been alive. And I bet, just like me trying to swim in the pool next to her, she has no idea the Compound Effect is there.
Darren Hardy talks about how the Compound Effect works both ways, whether we are conscious of it or not. Eat cheeseburgers for 87 years and you probably wouldn’t have made it to 87 anyways. Watch 4 hours of TV per night for 87 years and you’ve spent 127,020 hours being kept up to date on random housewives that have no relevance to you or anyone around you.
Swim for an hour everyday for 87 years and you’ve probably outlived most of your peers who know a lot about random housewives. Your son drives you to a pool where strangers makes room for you out of respect…and you haven’t even said a thing about being an Olympian or otherwise.
I think what struck me the most about Mom is that she got respect, not for anything she said or boasted about, instead for the action she took. And continues to take.