Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Filling the Tank

"Do you ever get bored?"

My good friend and I were sitting out on the back porch, enjoying a drink and an impromptu tête-à-tête this evening. I gave the question some thought and then answered, in all honesty, "Definitely not."

"Me neither. My day is so full of things to do, I never have time to be bored."

This is true for me as well. I have a hard time just finding time to read, and I never just flip on the TV like I did in the years before I had kids. All day long, I'm going from one activity to another, with no more than a few minutes in between.

This isn't to say that I'm complaining, or that the things I'm doing are unpleasant. On the contrary, I'm pretty darn happy with the structure of my life right now. It's taken years to get here, but I'm finally at the point where a good chunk of my day can be spent doing things that fill my tank, rather than just drain it all the time.

Including sitting on the back porch discussing such matters with a friend.

It's a completely different feeling, approaching life and its responsibilities on a full tank for a change.

Different enough that it's easy to notice when things are getting out of balance and I'm drifting toward empty again. Back when I was running on empty all the time, I didn't know any better. Having finally achieved a sense of what "full" feels like, it's easier to make the necessary efforts to continuously find ways to nurture and sustain that fullness.

For me, it's exercising, spending time with my women friends, cuddling with my husband, laughing and doing something creative with my kids. If I can pack some of that into every day, my tank stays full enough that I have plenty to give, and still plenty left over for myself most of the time. I feel happy and fulfilled; I don't turn to eating or watching television or whatever else I used to do simply because I was bored or feeling empty.

This isn't to say that there aren't hourly, daily or weekly variations in the level of the tank - of course there are. But for the most part, I'm running on full more than empty these days, and it has made a big difference in my life.

I think Savageman and the boys have appreciated the fact that I'm happier and nicer to be with as a result, so it has made a big difference in their lives as well.

Feeling very grateful tonight for a life that is anything but boring and for good friends and family who share in it and give it so much meaning.


It's Not Like a Cat said...

I love this. You make it sound very do-able and achievable...as well as possible to maintain, with some awareness.

Kath said...

You're a lot closer to this than I was when I had two small kids. Knowing yourself and acknowledging your need for grown-up work and regular exercise takes a lot more awareness than I had back then.

I think you'll get to this point long before you have teens and tweens. :-)