You know how they always tell you that it’s not a good idea to keep your laptop batteries charged at 100% all the time? I think that might be a good idea in life, too. I think that once in a while we need to let our battery run down to around 7%, not completely dead, but close. Why? Well, here’s my story to illustrate the why.
I drive for a living now. Some days I drive about 3 hours, others as many as 13. Last week I drove more hours than usual, and had three days of very long hours. I was exhausted. Our youngest daughter, who is an apartment-dwelling chef in Kansas City, had asked me to grow sweet potatoes for her this year. I did, but had to dig them last week when the temperature dipped to freezing. I don’t have the facilities to cure sweet potatoes so that they store well, so I needed to get them to our daughter quickly. As luck would have it, even though I was overly tired from driving, this weekend also required much of my time at church, draining most of my remaining energy. BUT, yesterday was a day that both our daughter and I had off. Now, our daughter lives almost 200 miles away, so it was going to be a long drive to deliver the sweet potatoes. Knowing full well how tired I was, I dithered about making the trip, but decided it was now or never.
After I got home from a relatively short drive for work yesterday, I threw a sleeping bag and pillow in the car and headed for Kansas City. I knew I could spend the night if I wanted to. As I drove east of Manhattan, KS, I began to see that the bridges and overpasses had been treated against freezing rain and snow. The entire length of I-70 running through Topeka had been sprayed. Not a good sign!
When I arrived in Kansas City, our daughter and I sat on top of her 5-foot high entertainment center, looking out over the river and surrounding city, just relaxing and catching up with each other’s lives. We got to talking about recipes, found one that looked good, and made it – just for fun. I had brought her the last of the parsley from my garden, so she used it in the puttanesca she made for supper. Delicious! Even better, our daughter’s wife got home earlier than usual from work and joined us for supper. After dinner we checked the weather forecast, and were dismayed to see that rain was to begin in Topeka at 3 AM and temperatures were to continue dropping after that, reaching 27° F. I did not want to be driving in traffic on icy roads in the morning, so I made the decision to drive home immediately.
I remained very alert and energized, taking joy in the visit, the food, and just relaxing with our daughter and her wife – until the last hour and a half of my journey. From there, it was a struggle to stay awake, much less alert. I should have pulled over and slept a while, but I didn’t.
Yes, I made it home, but today I kind of feel as if I met a semi-truck head-on last night. Headache, fatigue, thinking isn’t easy, that kind of thing. BUT, yes, I know, another but…today is the last day of the month and bills had to be paid today. And my time clock punches at work got all messed up and had to be sorted out today. And that nap that I’ve wanted all day? I never got it. Things just kept having to be taken care of now.
Why did I say that it is good to get this tired once in a while? Because when your personal battery is blinking and sending you messages saying you have 7% left, you make different choices, you prioritize. When there is only so much energy left, you put aside the things that don’t have to be done, (like baking the Halloween treats we usually take to people on this last day of October, the laundry, other cooking, reading), and you focus on the things that absolutely must be done.
I don’t like being this tired, but it makes me realize that a lot of what I do is frivolous. I need times like this to remind me to focus on the main things in life and not get caught up in the little details that, while I enjoy them, often use up more of my energy than they are worth. And, now that I’ve done the last thing that absolutely has to be done today, (writing to you), I’m going to get that sleep I really, really need. ZZZZzzzzzzz