on Aunt Rhoda’s advice for making it to the top

Aunt Rhoda,* who is half-way through her ninth decade, has a tactic for any long-haul climb, “like climbing to the top of the Washington Monument, which everyone knows is quite a trek.”

Fifty flights of stairs? Aunt Rhoda says the trick is to stop and say, “let’s look at the view from here!” every time you need a breather.

What a good reminder to frame the exhaustion and breathlessness as a positive opportunity to stop and take into account how far you’ve already come. Rest a little, she says, and don’t just focus on how far you have to go.**

Oh, and don’t climb with impatient people. Choose your hiking companions carefully. Aunt Rhoda reminds us to climb with people who will let you catch your breath. Go with the ones who will laugh and empathize with you. One of my best friends notices when I start my asthmatic wheezing. I’ve caught him smiling to himself before he says, “let’s slow down a little because my knee is barking.”



*Aunt Rhoda isn’t my aunt. She’s the aunt of a dear friend and I just claim her because she’s cool and smart and funny.

**This is a variation on the technical question, “How do you eat a Woolly Mammoth?”  Each of the “single bites at a time” of a complicated project is worth celebrating.