Thursday, February 3, 2022

Running on Empty

Taking a trip down memory lane, my mind landed on a rather inconvenient, but memorable occasion.  I was in a vehicle that was in the middle of a bridge not moving because it had run out of gas.  There really is nothing quite like having people passing you in the middle of a bridge while you sit there feeling a combination of embarrassed and angry at yourself, the universe, and potentially every gas station in America for good measure.  I remember at the time, I had this strange little insurance benefit attached to my cell phone plan...  for something ridiculous like $3 a month, I was protected against things like locking the keys in the car or running out of gas.  Honestly, it came in handy because admittedly both of those services got used more than once.  I remember sitting there, doing my best to audibly state every four-letter word in my vocabulary while waiting for whomever it was Verizon was sending to bail me out of my situation...  I swear every motorist that went by took the opportunity to stare, nearly causing accidents from rubber-necking, and with each passing car, I became increasingly more embarrassed.  Looking back, I can't help but laugh.  Why was I so concerned about the judgment of strangers?  I mean, I didn't have any clue who those people were, nor did they know me!  Regardless, I was completely caught up in my own misery at the time and absolutely failed to pan back and allow myself a true perspective on the situation. 

Let's consider why I was so upset.  Was it inconvenient that I was sitting there in the middle of a bridge waiting for someone to bring me some precious gasoline?  Absolutely!  But was I really angry because I was inconvenienced or was it something else?    Perhaps I was angry because I had absolutely failed to read the critical signs that I was quickly running out of the fuel necessary to continue forward. Perhaps I was angry because I had failed to take care of my own needs or prioritize running on a full tank.  Perhaps I had allowed myself to become too accustomed to running on empty for too many years.  Perhaps I had learned to take comfort in my own discomfort, and perhaps I was finally fed up with it.  

How many of us are running through life at break-neck speed ignoring the signs of impending shut-down, just trying to make it a little further down the road?  How many of us have allowed ourselves simply look past the fact that our physical, mental, spiritual, and energetic tanks are on empty?  It's funny, at the beginning of each year, we set ourselves goals for our money, our bodies, and our businesses.  Some set goals that relate to academics or our careers.  Occasionally we even sneak one in for fun like how many books to read this year.  All of this goal setting is really another way of prioritizing certain areas of our lives and setting a time frame through which to do so while producing certain outcomes.  If I'm really honest with you, I'm kind of into it.  I mean, I'm a Capricorn.  I almost can't help myself.  But what about prioritizing ourselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or energetically?  Why aren't we prioritizing ourselves in that way?  Is it that we simply haven't thought about it or does it go deeper?  Do we feel guilty prioritizing ourselves because we don't think we deserve to allot the precious currencies of time or money to our own wellbeing?

It is only from our overflow that we can truly give to others...  If our tank runs out of gas, we cannot reach our destination whether that destination is one of our goals, being there for our kids, partners, family, friends, or colleagues.  First off, we owe it to ourselves to feel good in all areas of our being.  Moreover, we owe it to the people we love most to take care of all aspects of ourselves.  Otherwise, we are no good to them.  What does this mean in practical application?  You know that lifestyle section of your 50/30/20 Budget?  This is the perfect space to build yourself into your priority list!  The flexible spending (or lifestyle) section of your budget represents 30% of your overall budget.  Surely, you can find the space to address your own needs within this category!

I recently have chosen to do this.  I recognize that I am working so hard and racing toward goals, but that I need to take care of certain areas of my own being in the process.  Some of the ways in which I am doing so is to budget for some reiki sessions, a therapist, and some me-time on an upcoming break.  What does it look like for you?  Do you need to get that massage? Go on that retreat? I would really like to challenge you to look at your budget and ask yourself a hard question:  Where am I in this budget?  Have I left any room for me?  If the answer is yes, is it enough?  If the answer is no, where can you build it in and what does that look like?  I promise you, you won't regret it.

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