I am guessing this quote came to Carl Sanburg on a morning such as the one I had today. It was a difficult morning. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. I didn’t feel like showing up. I so badly wanted to sleep in, chill out and make no commitments- except maybe to some good old mindless TV.
This morning, I felt like being the hippo.
But, I had follow ups to follow up on, a team that needed my leadership, promises that needed honouring. I couldn’t be the hippo. Not today.
Today, I needed to be the eagle. So I got up, showed up and accomplished what had to be accomplished- including writing this piece which came to me this morning- in the midst of wishing I could be a hippo.
A couple of days ago, I met someone who made me wonder if they ever entertained the luxury of ‘hippodom’ in their lives. The state of not having to prove self imposed points to everyone, all the time. Of course no one wants to be known as the perpetual hippo but then how difficult it must be to always have to live up to ‘eagledom’.
The guilt ridden leave days away from the office. The constant state of competition not just with others but also oneself. The never having time to stop and smell the roses. The lack of tolerance for the occasional misstep. The never pressing the snooze button. The military like adherence to diets and exercise regimes.
Such a level of discipline, I admire and I am sure it will get anyone far.
But in the meantime, life is happening- particularly for those of us who choose the state of ‘hippodom’ every once in a while.
Maybe I didn’t press the snooze button this morning but that doesn’t mean I never have or never will. Or that I will only do it when I have accomplished all that I need to accomplish (in my 70’s, I think). I have made peace with the fact that I cannot always, every single time, without fail be an eagle. I have made my peace with the fact that it’s ok to have a little hippo in me every now and again. And so little by little, day by day, I try to soar but at the same time, I’m not too hard on myself when, on occasion, I find myself wallowing in the mud. So tomorrow, all achievements considered, I might actually sleep in. And hey, before you judge me, remember this: I was an eagle today.