Reflection: Sometimes the Tanks are Just Empty

As part of the process of growing up, I was taught to always do my best.

Of the myriad childhood lessons, it's one of the few that has always stuck with me, and ended up becoming one of my core values for how I prefer to conduct myself in the world. Of course, we don't always have equally free access to our preferred choices.


One of the things that often "attaches" to the idea of doing our best is the attendant idea that if we do do our best, it will lead to success at whatever it is we are trying to do.

Whereas that's a nice idea (or ideal), the sad truth is that "our best" will frequently turn out to be not enough. And that tends to be when our emotional and personal-resource "tanks" end up being empty. You pour your heart and soul into something you truly believe in, work your ass off... and at the end you have... absolutely nothing.


I do remember that when my dad was teaching me about this idea of "doing your best" part of the lesson was that sometimes people will not care, and you have to accept as your "reward" simply the knowing that you gave it your very best shot.

Maybe I am just more "results oriented" than many people, but I have always struggled with the idea of my "reward" for doing my best is this... abstraction.

It reminds me a bit of a business I had, many years ago. It won a fair number of accolades, several "best small retailer" awards and I got lots of "pats on back" for having created something "truly exceptional," but that wasn't really something I could take to the bank or pay the landlord with. But I had a nice collection of newspaper clippings for my scrapbook... and an empty bank account.

Sometimes I fear I am just too mercenary with many things; struggling to be satisfied with intangible results, in many situations. But so much of life is very applied and tangible... and — as Mrs. Denmarkguy and I often joke — they don't accept Karma Koins at the supermarket!


It was a strange day today. And yet? It also represented... LIFE.

Mrs. Denmarkguy had planned to head to Seattle early this morning (Saturday) to help our daughter pain the barn in her back yard. Simple enough.

We were going to leave the house at 8:00-8:15, to make it to the 9:35 ferry to the other side of the sound. I would drive her to the ferry and drive back home... because the ferry lines for cars on the weekend can be as much as three hours of wait time. So that was the plan; my plan was to be home by a little after 10:00am to start a busy day of "getting stuff done."


As it turned out, "this and that" happened, so we decided to leave for the next ferry at 10:20 instead... which we did, with plenty of time to spare. But then we got to this bridge we have to cross, and the drawbridge span was just about the to be raised for two excruciatingly slow sailboats to go through. So we arrived two minutes too late for the 10:20 ferry. Which meant waiting for the 11:05 ferry.

Most of my morning already gone... we went and had a coffee, while waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Well, turned out the boat scheduled to make the 11:05 crossing had suffered a "catastrophic generator failure" and the sailing had been canceled. We're not talking rowboats here; we're talking a ferry that takes on 240 cars and up to 1,500 walk-on passengers. So then it became the 11:55 sailing.

Meanwhile, Dear Daughter was having a minor emotional meltdown because the "barn painting party" that was going to have started at about 10:00 now looked like it would start at closer to 1:00, instead.

I did make sure Mrs. Denmarkguy actually got on the ferry, and then headed back towards home, about a 50-minute drive.

Except... on the way back the drawbridge had just opened again, for two excruciatingly slow sailboats!

Uh-oh... the bridge is up, AGAIN...

At that point, there is little else to do but laugh. Which, of course, I did.

I eventually arrived home at about 2:00pm, after an excursion that takes about two hours ended up taking six hours.

Maybe I lack the stamina I once had... but by the time I did finally arrive home again my "emotional and psychological tanks" we're empty, which really struck home as I looked at my list of what I had hoped to accomplish with my day and realized I might as well toss it in the trash.

These kinds of events (days) don't really make me angry anymore (there was a time when they would have!) but that doesn't mean that I'm not aware that "the clock of life" invariably keeps running and doesn't give a shit about bridge closings, failed ship generators and other misfortunes.

Thanks for reading, and have a great Sunday!

How about YOU? Are there any particular types of challenges that tend to "empty your tanks?" Or do you keep an even keel, regardless? Id "doing your best" sometimes not enough? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!


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Created at 20210718 01:58 PDT



Hah, well all of those unforseen circumstances would have left me a little deflated aswell.
It's funny, I came on here to quickly throw some upvotes around and very much ignore my own notifications, because my tank has been empty for a few days. I saw your title though, so figured I'd stop to read. It was just too fitting ;-)

Right now, I'm running on empty because of some vaccine side effects and a major migraine afterwards. Other times, I think lack of inspiration or challenges can be my problem when I seem to be... bored out of my skull, but without energy to undertake anything. Or does the lack of inspiration originate from lack of energy? I really can't tell sometimes. I guess we're so used to keep on going, it feels weird or lazy to sit down and recharge. Like we're doing something wrong, letting someone down, because we're not busy all the time. Until eventually, we're forced to take a break, slow down, and find out it's actually pretty great if you're open to it.

Hmm, that's enough random typing from me!

Ah yes, the vaccine side effects do seem to kick quick a few people in the butt; I haven't had it, but I know plenty who have and have struggled.

It's funny — and sad — that we seem to live in a world now where sitting still somehow causes us to feel guilt. I'm learning to increasingly accept that "what will be, will be" and not to force it too much, regardless of what people on the outside my "think."

Manually curated by EwkaW from the @qurator Team. Keep up the good work!

Thank you @ewkaw, appreciate the support!

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