My iPhone gives me the option of having a percentage listed on the screen for my battery life. I think you can tell a lot by a person based on their preference for this setting.
For some, the shaded icon alone is sufficient. They don’t need specific numbers to quantify their remaining battery life, simply a shaded in portion of the battery is enough. Once it turns red the plug comes out, the phone gets charged.
For me however, this simply isn’t good enough. I need the percentage, I need to watch the slow descent from 100, to 90, to 60, and eventually to 14% when my heart starts to race and I grasp desperately for my charger, terrified an important call will come in and my battery won’t maintain the conversation.
So maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. In many ways my day can be defined by the rate drain rate of my cell phone battery. Busy days when my phone stays tucked away the battery lowers slowly, at an even pace. If I am bored or trying to take care of things, trying to stay in touch with people, the battery life races from my phone like water from the sink when the drain comes out after a round of dishes. On these days it seems like a constant battle to keep the percentage up. I charge my phone, I use it, and it seems like only moments pass before I am back to 60%, then I start the process again. It feels like fighting a losing battle.
Life feels that way sometimes. Now is one of those times.
Do you ever feel just drained? Like no matter what you do you can’t fill back up, and even if you do for a moment you still can’t seem to hold the charge.
The last few weeks have felt like a crazy whirlwind. First was the explosion of my blog after the “Just a Nurse” post went viral. The response has been amazing, and overwhelmingly good, and, well, generally overwhelming. I have tried my best to respond to comments, emails, and other correspondences related to the post and my blog, but it has been a lot. I haven’t done a wonderful job.
In addition to that, there has been work. Last weekend I worked three 12 hour days in a row and each day became more like a 13 or 14 hour day. I moved constantly, my brain was challenged constantly. I left the stretch of days feeling run down, tired, and, well, drained both physically and emotionally.
Then there’s the house and apartment fiasco. My house still hasn’t had a closing, despite the offer being accepted in early June, leaving me still a homeowner months later. My financial anticipation never planned on two extra months of mortgage payments, especially once I would be looking for an apartment here in New York. The stress of trying to make it all come together has left me, yet again, overwhelmed, drained.
The other night I got home from work, my battery on my phone was nearly dead. I set the alarm for 5am, to be up for work on time. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and exchanged contacts for glasses. I grabbed my book, hopped in bed, plugged my phone in, and nothing happened. No battery symbol popped up, no tone or vibration indicating the recharge process had begun. I repositioned it, unplugged, re-plugged. Finally I realized the charger was done for. The cables were torn and it would do nothing for me. My battery was at 4% and I never thought to bring an alarm clock with me when I moved. At my friend Melissa’s suggestion I ran downstairs and asked my doorman if he had a charger I could borrow. He didn’t. I was moments away from asking him to wake me up in a few hours when he suggested the 24 hour Apple store on Fifth Ave. Only in New York, right?
So I hailed a cab, at midnight, five hours before I needed to get up, still in yoga pants and glasses. The Apple store is like a night club, by the way. If you haven’t been, go. Who knew an underground Apple store would be bumping in the middle of the night! There were people everywhere, children crying, bright lights, loud music. I grabbed a charger, hailed another cab, rode home, and finally climbed back in bed.
A charged battery is such an important thing. I never thought twice about going out at midnight for a charger for my phone. It was necessary. Immediately. My own battery on the other hand gets far less attentive care. I let my battery run down to zero. And then I let it stay there. When the phone is nearly dead there is that panic, that moment when you realize you have to find the charger, and now. Once the battery dies it takes forever to start the phone up again. Why then is there not that same sense of urgency when my own battery is teetering dangerously low?
I have mentioned in previous posts that I tend to spread myself too thin. I over plan, over book, over commit. I am afraid to under deliver, so as a result I just run myself ragged. And then I crash.
I have written about so many of my short comings and weaknesses, my areas for improvement. I have addressed fear, control, and stillness. I have worked hard in each of these areas over the past year, putting an effort into growing myself. All of these changes have been with a goal to, as my tagline says, define my health, to make myself so healthy that I am in control of how I feel, not a victim of my body’s health or lack thereof. Yet somehow, I have made no effort and no progress to diminish my spread too thin, overwhelmed, exhausted, and drained to empty but still trying to run tendencies.
So I finally gave myself a day of rest today. It is nearly 1pm and I am still in bed. I have a cup of coffee beside me, the one task that got me out of bed so far today. My computer is on my lap. I gave myself permission, or even required of myself a day of rest today. I plan to see no one and do nothing. I may run in the park, I may rent a movie to watch, alone, tonight. Other than simple tasks I have forbidden myself from doing anything today. As I made this plan early this morning I realized something big. As I went over the rules with myself I felt excited for this day. Then something interesting happen, I had to give myself permission to not feel guilty. I had to tell myself its ok to take a day to rest, to withdraw and just be.
There was no guilt in trying to let go of control or fear. I felt no guilt in allowing myself to take a leap of faith, or even feel helpless on the side of the road with a flat tire. Yet when it comes to slowing down and taking a day for me, I feel guilty.
I feel guilt acknowledging that I need this, that I can’t maintain the way I live my life. That I can’t keep in touch with everyone, make everyone happy, do my job well, see everyone, love everyone, make everyone laugh or smile or feel overwhelmed by my beauty every moment that they see me.
But I’ve been trying, and now my battery is empty. So today I am staying in bed. I’m plugging myself in, and hoping to recharge. I am letting go of the guilt I feel for doing this. More importantly I am letting go of feelings of inadequacy that come with admitting I simply can’t do it all. But I can’t. There, I said it!
Now excuse me as I turn my phone off and take a nap.
It may take more than a day to recharge my battery, but at least today can be a start.