Running on fumes.

150 150 Ruthie Slingerland

I can tell you what freedom isn’t…

No options, no money, feeling stuck and wondering if you’re getting any traction in life.

It’s like running on fumes.

I remember my first car… It was a white, leather interiors, 4-door, stick shift (4 speed) Toyota Corolla. I was the second owner and it was like new! I’ve never been a ‘car’ person but when I drove this car, it made me smile. New car, new season, an adult on my own in a new city. It felt like freedom. I was surprised to find out how safe it was in the snow, an important feature for a Caribbean driver living in Buffalo for the first time in her life: rare studded tires-also illegal in Canada (I found that out on my way to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls). Anyway, this little car drove like a truck and it was amazing in the snow.

The curious thing about that season of my life…

As a new driver (married without kids) I was terrible at gauging how much gas my cool car had. Of course, it HAD a fuel gauge but I rarely looked at it or wondered when I would need to fill up. I ran on fumes, regularly, and at the expense of Jamie’s concern. And since this was my crazy, normal way of going about my life, you guessed it! I would end up on the side of the road, out of gas. One of those times, I was very pregnant.

Not the best scenario.

Me: “Hello?”

Jamie: “Hey, babe!”

Me: “Hey.”

Jamie: “Is everything ok? Is it the baby?”

Me: “No. Not the baby…Um, is there any way you could help me with something?” (gulp)

Jamie: “You didn’t run out of gas again, did ya?….I’ll be right there.”

I did eventually learn my lesson, especially after having kids. Being stranded with a newborn was not an option. But as I think about the years when we didn’t have freedom, I remember life was like me driving the Corolla, living on fumes.

Careless and carefree in a bad way.

Unaware of the problems we create for ourselves down the road, we don’t plan on filling up our love tank, put savings into our bank account or invest in our physical health. Oh, how nice it would be to have a “love gauge” as visible as the fuel one in a car but we can most certainly look at our bank account regularly.

Numbers don’t lie.

We rarely assess our relationships, our financial or physical health. Until the day we find ourselves on the side of the road, fumes no longer able to take us where we want to go. If you’re here it’s probably because you are done living on fumes. Maybe you’re on the side of the road not knowing who to call or what to do. We’re glad you’ve stopped to assess the situation. It’s going to be ok. You’re taking the first step.

What’s one thing you can do today to stop running on fumes?

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