I heard someone on the radio use this phrase to describe herself as we were out grabbing a few last-minute items to assist with riding out Hurricane Ida. She was talking about evacuating her home in New Orleans at 10:30 last night, driving to Alabama to seek shelter, and then doing the show remotely from there.
Here, we aren’t in as much of a need to evacuate, we are further from the coast and the storm surge, but it’s still going to be a long, dangerous couple of days. So, we are spending a lot of time, and both mental and physical energy, preparing to possibly be without power, for needing to leave if the house is damaged, and so forth. It’s a lot. And that is on top of all the mental energy necessary to deal with large COVID outbreaks we’ve had in recent weeks, all of the recent events in world news, and the various personal and professional challenges that we are also dealing with.
Running on fumes is a really good description of how I think most of the entire state feels today, and yet, there’s a storm coming that we are all going to have to deal with, while everything else just continues on as well.
The thing is, every day we all come across people who are running on fumes. When we deal with the staff at a coffee shop, restaurant, or store that is massively short-handed, or an office worker who just found out someone in their workplace tested positive for COVID and they’re worried about whether they brought it home to the spouse, or child, or even a CEO who is wondering how to keep the business running without losing all of her employees to burnout. We are all, in one way or another, running on fumes, and there isn’t enough sugar and caffeine to keep doing this forever.
Sitting here in my living room, checking the latest storm track, I also don’t know how this ends though. When will there be a week with no “unprecedented event”? Is it even possible to hope for that? Things are going on all around us, big stories, and small stories, that impact our lives and the people we care about, and every one of those things requires more of our energy, more of our effort. How do we keep going?
I don’t have easy answers, and I don’t believe anyone else does either. Anyone trying to sell you an easy answer is probably just conning you. It’s hard work, finding enough rest in the middle of our lives to allow us to continue to deal with all of the things we need to deal with, or finding the right support from others when it’s needed.
It’s a mess, and we are all doing the best we can to find a way that makes sense for us. That fact can feel debilitating, or it can feel liberating. It’s all about how you look at it. None of us is doing this perfectly, none of us is doing it without struggle, and the occasional failure.
So you don’t have to do it perfectly either. It’s OK. That’s what being human is.
Stay safe out there y’all, and if you don’t hear from me on social media for a couple of days, we probably don’t have power. I’ll be in touch when I can!