Keepin' On

"I figure I can either quit, or keep on going. I choose Keepin' On."

Rock Skipping

rockskipIt is possible to throw a rock so that it skips across the surface of a lake eighty-eight times. This fact was discovered after extensive research of about twenty minutes on the Internet. It may be a record. If not, it is pretty darn good.

I first learned about rock skipping many years ago while ignoring my father’s passionate demonstration of how to properly cast a fishing line to hit just the right spot where the big ones were guaranteed to bite. It turned out that there was a lot more to fishing than casting a line. You have to wait. You have to wait forever, or at least it always seemed like it was forever.                   Waiting is an ability ten year olds only have under duress. My father, noticing my lack of desire to fish, switched to rock skipping. There was a lot less waiting involved, but it still took time to learn. The real point in mastering fishing, or rock skipping, is to just keep going.

According to many world experts (and you are free to ask any of them, for a price), “keep going” or motivation, as it is otherwise called, is the key to success in just about everything. If a long journey starts with a single step, it continues with another step, and another. It doesn’t matter if you are the tired parent of two year-old twins, or an exhausted rescue worker at a disaster. Taking one more step for one more moment in any difficult situation is an heroic act.

So, how do we make ourselves take one more step? One answer is found in the lowly carrot. Most of us have seen a picture of a small cart being pulled by a donkey. Out in front of the donkey, suspended by a string tied to a stick is – a carrot. The donkey walks to reach the carrot, which stays just ahead of the donkey that pulls the cart forward. This is not unlike the Social Security system, but I digress. The point is that what keeps us going is our own special carrot.

Here, for example, is one of the thoughts that keep me going: “When I finish this (whatever), I can put my feet up!” Now that I am in the last half of my own personal century, I have discovered that putting my feet up is second only in pleasure to laying my body down. I have been fighting gravity for a long time now. When gravity finally wins, and it will, then it is The Big Casino and I am fighting that all the way.

The carrot of rock skipping is the challenge and the fun of figuring out how to get one more skip out of a throw. In a way our lives are much like that. The thought of “how much further can I go?” has always motivated people. Imagine being the rock that keeps sailing further with each skip.   As long as we are moving, life is forever. So . . . Time for me to put my feet down, stand back up, focus on a good carrot, and keep on keepin’ on. Your Keepin’ On Tip for the Day: Got carrot?  

About Jim Thomson

Husband, father, grandfather, counselor, and writer.

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