Running on Empty


“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” ― John Muir

The past few weeks I’ve been running on empty.  One of the issues with running on empty is ideas are harder to form and even the inspired ones you doubt because you know you are running on empty.  I knew this past week would tap the rest of my fuel, but I didn’t foresee a stubborn computer and a “new” hard drive malfunctioning.  That tapped the last of my reserves and had me running on fumes.

I put the computer back in place Monday and finished the last of the adjustments to it. Though there was a point while dealing with it that I was pretty sure it was going to have an “accident”. It would have been satisfying and enjoyable fire…um accident.  Actually the most frustrating thing was the fact that one day was burned on it trying to get the “new” hard drive to work with it. Now if I had not been running on empty I would have been more aware that it was probably a bad hard drive but running on empty I didn’t even consider that fact because it was “new”.  Everything went smoothly once I salvaged a hard drive from an old system.

“A great way to get rid of stress is, every once in a while, do something totally different and unexpected without any prior planning.”  ― Franklin Gillette
That’s the problem with running on empty is things become harder. You have to put more effort into ideas, into figuring out problems, etc.  Though this week I also found myself thinking about how I broke a couple years ago. How I had an anxiety break that had me sitting in the doctors office breaking into tears asking for something to help because I couldn’t function right.  A lesson learned.  Mixing running on empty with my personality doesn’t work well.  Why? because  I don’t give up easily and I’ll keep running on empty for as long as needed to get a job done.

The problem with that is if the fuel runs out and the fumes are gone then…well… you break. So I learned to take time to refuel.  I also learned that taking that time to refuel is much better then running on empty. Also when you know a big thing that you have to push through is coming up scheduling a refuel  after is a good thing. Sometimes you have to run on empty but if you know there is a gas station ahead then you have hope.


“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” 
 John Muir

We each refuel differently.  For me I refuel in nature.  I refuel by hiking, drives, etc in nature.  The bad part is when I reach the point I am today it is hard for me to formulate my refuel plan. Though at moments like this is when I truly just sit back and say “okay I’m spent, I’m going to need some help here”. That is what I did earlier tonight while driving to get get rid of some metal recycling. I couldn’t think, I was stressed and my daughter had asked me a few times if I was okay because I looked grumpy.  So I’m driving and couldn’t come up with a thing to refuel and that made it worse. That’s when I realized I was still fighting, that I was still pushing but not for work, friends, or etc but fighting for relief.

When that awareness hit me, that I was still trying to get my empty tank to a refuel station with a broken gps, no map, and no idea what to do.  I cranked the music, okay it was already cranked but it went up slightly more, relaxed enjoyed the moment of just driving and music. Then I said something that is hard for me to say “I need your help, I hate to ask but I need an idea to refuel”.   By the time I got home I had a few ideas spinning in my head, though the one that really stuck was waterfalls.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson
Which when I mentioned to my wife she said she had the same thought.  So I’m thinking Tennessee. There were some waterfalls we visited before that I’d love to see again. Also the hills there bring a freshness to my soul.  So I think waterfalls may very well be my refuel.  Which my camera will most definitely be with me no matter how I refuel.   Which my camera is another way I refuel as well as change my perspective.   Though I may also go up to starved rock state park in Illinois or to cataract falls in Indiana, hmm maybe around Farmington area in Missouri… See where we end up.  🙂

I need to make sure to get more three and four day weekends in this year.  Nature is my connection and without it I just burn fuel without a refuel.  My advice is whatever you use to refuel do it often.  Also realize we all refuel different. I’m an introvert so being away from people is better for me, yet my daughter is an extrovert and she desires to be around people. So the very thing that taps me actually helps her.  So just find what works for you and do it.

Thank you for your time.

“Nature is a language and every new fact one learns is a new word; but it is not a language taken to pieces and dead in the dictionary, but the language put together into a most significant and universal sense. I wish to learn this language–not that I may know a new grammar, but that I may read the great book which is written in that tongue.” 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson




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