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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Kirschaum

This is why people hate this "scare" word

I’m flying down I-70 through the Eisenhower tunnel when the little yellow low gas light pops on. It’s winter, snow on the ground, when the sun sets, it will be freezing.

Running out of gas in the mountains in winter. Brrrrrr.

“Damn. How far to the next gas station? I can’t remember.”

It was a nervous few miles, but before sputtering to a stop in a freezing nightmare, a gas station glowed well-lit, safe and warm around a mountain bend. I zipped in, filled my tank to the top and grabbed a coffee, my preferred fuel.

What if they’d been out of gas? So first-world secure, it never even occurred to me.

Someone turned off the gas tap to the southeast US last Friday and by yesterday, people were waiting in line at the pumps, prices creeping up.

Today, plastic bags went over pump handles. Apparently, the universal signal for: “we’re out.”

No fist fights yet that I know of, but I haven’t been on Twitter lately.

We all run out of gas, right?

Motivation, energy, enthusiasm are gone. You just can’t do it anymore.

When you feel this way, what do you do?

Grab an espresso and try to rally?

Take a break?

Get scared?

Whether you're mainlining espresso or soaking in a tub and burning a lavender candle is beside the point.

Here's what really matters:

What do you say to yourself?

Do you give yourself a hug or a backhand?

One of the hardest working people I ever knew would get drop dead exhausted from her workaholic existence. Eventually she’d have to take a break, at which point she’d say, “I’m just lazy.”

(That's the backhand.)

"What?!!" I'd say, shocked at her assessment.

"You've worked your entire life. Often two jobs. You have a full-time job, do 90% of the housework and childcare while your husband sits on his ass guiltlessly and would never dream of considering himself lazy, WTH are you talking about?!!??

[Air kiss and hat tip to all the amazing husbands and dads who kick ass at vacuuming, bedtime stories and more.]

"Where are you getting "lazy" from?!?!!?" I practically beg to know.

Someone coded this into her brain long before we met.

You? lazy? The mind reels...

What’s even more perverse is she once confided in me that she feared her daughter was growing up “lazy” too.

Holy cow.

We’re indoctrinated to believe work is unquestionably "good." Not wanting to work is "bad" and we jerk away from "lazy" as if it were a freshly charged cattle prod.

Here’s the thing, most of us have never felt a cattle prod.

You know what the human cattle prod is? Shame.

Being lazy is so shame-saturated people will work themselves to death to avoid it.

A little shame keeps us working past exhaustion well into burnout, and beyond. All this so someone will stand up at our funereal and say “ They worked hard their whole life.”

Oh, please. If it's me, just have an open bar.

You’re probably working a lot harder than you’re giving yourself credit for.

You’ve come a lot farther than you think.

You’ve bagged so many accomplishments you’ve forgotten most of them.

I mean it. You have.

And if a stranger sat down and asked you to list them - your wins, successes, accomplishments, hard work, mistakes survived and more, you’d probably think...

“Who the hell is this amazing, accomplished, resilient person!?!

It’s you. You are amazing. You are badass. YOU are a survivor.

And don’t you forget it.

Take it easy on yourself. You’ve earned it.



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