March 3, 2011
Running on Empty
I am a mother of four, a volunteer, an event coordinator and a writer. My mind is usually going a mile a minute and I'm putting out energy left, right, and center all the time. Some weeks, like last week, are particularly packed and by the end of it I've really got nothing left. The tank is running on empty, and beginning to consume itself. If I don't put some fuel in the tank my mind is left to its own destructive tendencies and things can go from bad to breakdown. But what exactly is my fuel? I think everyone has their own fuel. For some people it's a good bottle of wine shared with a spouse over dinner or a weekend getaway. Those are both fine options but can get a bit expensive. My fuel is more readily available and budget friendly.
Yesterday I took much of the day 'off'. By that I mean I took one day to just relax and not expect too much productivity from myself. I spent the whole morning watching a DVD I'd borrowed from the library and had not yet made time to watch. I had tried to renew it online but was prevented by the fact there was a hold on it. The DVD, a three hour and twenty minute BBC production of George Eliot's beautiful story Daniel Deronda literally did take my whole morning, and I enjoyed every minute of being able to watch it without interruption (apart from the breaks I took to make a cup of tea and visit the bathroom). No one even phoned which was real luxury. After lunch I went for a walk downtown to pick up some buns to go with the leftover chicken soup I had made the day before - so I didn't even have to make supper. After supper my husband and I did the few dishes there were and then settled down again in front of the television as the weather was too nasty for an evening walk. The Washington State PBS channel had a great show on about The Troubadour - a Los Angeles club where basically all the big names in the 1970's singer-songwriter genre got their start. James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Eagles, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and even a twenty-three year old Elton John were all in that L.A. music scene in the early '70's. They were also all part of the soundtrack of my childhood so I watched the program with special interest while my mind kept drifting back to my parents' pine panelled living room with its record player and hundreds of records. (We also noted that Jackson Browne had exactly the same hair style back then as our eldest son has now.) After the program I had my customary evening soak in the tub, read my absorbing murder mystery novel and went to bed.
This morning I woke up ready to take on the world once again. I had no idea what I was going to blog about this week but I sat down at the computer and immediately thought of Jackson Browne's song, "Running on Empty". I typed that in to my title box and started writing this post. I wrote a bit, then went to have my weekly coffee out with friends. After coffee I put up posters around town for the annual Writer's Workshop and 'Open Mike' evening I organize with my friend The Librarian and walked home for lunch. The warm sun was breaking through the clouds. The birds were rioting in the trees and the hope of spring coming at last was visible on the faces of almost everyone I met. I noticed that the snow from the last two snowfalls was melting fast and had revealed, to my great relief, that my snowdrops, which had begun to bloom weeks ago, had survived.
My tank runneth over.
Here's Jackson Browne performing Running on Empty in 1978. David Lindley, whom we saw perform last summer at our local music festival plays the great slide guitar solo near the end. Enjoy!