A few weeks ago, I was on my way home from work and realized I was extremely low on gas. I was almost to my house and didn’t feel like going back into town. I knew I had enough to get Reagan to school the next morning and there’s a gas station about 3 miles or less from the school, so I went home, parked, and forgot about it.

By the time I got her to school the next day, I hit the button on the dash and the text glared back at me, “12 miles til empty”.

I knew I was low, but seeing it there in glowing red letters, kinda brought home the urgency of the situation. I refilled the tank, and breathed easier the rest of the day.

I am a busy person. And I only get busier with more obligations the older I get and the more involved my child becomes with her own life. Sometimes I don’t see just how low my own tank is getting until it becomes too obvious to ignore.

About a month ago, I looked over the available vacation time I have and decided to take a few days near Memorial Day. A 5 day weekend.

So here it is: Day 2 of my days off. I’m not at the beach or in the mountains or at Disney World. No, I am sitting on my patio. Listening to the birds, the breeze, my windchimes. I’m refilling my tank.

I’m writing this post. I’m refilling my tank.

I’m reading other blog posts. I’m having some quiet time. I’m going to spend the day with my family. I’m refilling my tank.

Yesterday, I had the most wonderful conversation with someone that I am still getting to know and every time we talk,I love her more. She inspires me, encourages my writing and the goals I have for my creative side. It refilled my tank.

This world, especially the “have tos” in life, will drain you of everything. Motivation, optimism, peace. I love that I am recognizing, more and more, the little things that refresh me.

I recently started getting up about an hour earlier than I used to. I enjoy my solitude for a while before I go and give myself to my life for the day. It’s a daily refilling that I have come to realize is necessary for me to battle the demons of anxiety and stress that fatigue me.

My mom is reading this book about decluttering one’s life. And basically, the object is to do your best to only surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Obviously we can’t control everything, but if I can have more of the activities in my life that refill my tank than drain it, well, the result is obvious, isn’t it? Joy.

So much of life is about the choices we make. I used to stress about them all. Now, I don’t. I write. I get up early and drink in the sunrise. I dye my hair a fabulous shade of red. I wear shorts even though I’m not at my goal weight. I clean the house when I bloody well feel like it. I stay up for one more episode of our show with my daughter.

I refill my tank.

I recently recognized and allowed to sink in, the very strong need I have for control. Over all kinds of things. It is unhealthy. It dictates my life in such a way that I feel miserable if I feel as though I’m not in control of more things than I am not. And so I’m learning a new balance. Learning that the “need to do” list is actually very different from what I thought. Yes, I have responsibilities. Even as I write this, there is housework that *needs* to be done. And I will get to it. Eventually. For now, I am choosing the thing that will refill my tank.

The obligations, the responsibilities of life are always there, always will be. This day, this moment will not be.

I am choosing to refill my tank for the next 4 days. It will be depleted within my first day back to work with a week full of “have tos”.

I was 12 miles til empty on Wednesday. The needle is rising again.