It’s not yet midday. I’ve been running.
No, that’s not quite right. I’ve been running on adrenaline for hours, despite having planned this week carefully, even allowing for slack.
Naturally, there are forces beyond our control that are the irritations of daily life: technology issues with service providers, snafus at the bank or with delivery of a package, traffic jams at a time of day when there shouldn’t be any and so you sit, and you sit, and you sit.
Each of these situations eats at our harried schedules, and sometimes, demands inordinate amounts of time. They drain our energies. They divert our focus. And they stand as obstacles to effectiveness, efficiency, not to mention a measure of calm.
And what gets us through, when we disentangle from our immediate encumbrances, is often adrenaline.
Oh, this sort of day is nothing new (sadly) – and an unintentional follow-up to yesterday’s issue with the “Half Done Syndrome.” And I know none of this is personal. There is no cosmic, Karmic wave intent on singling me out. But this is a serious side of contemporary culture that affects us all – this frenetic pace – our societal machinery that involves so many interconnected parts that we’re caught in its gears when they clog or slow.
And we’re fuming, we’re flailing, and we’re frustrated.
My day is more hectic than my “usual” hectic; more comings-and-goings are in process, requiring laundry, cleaning, stocking the fridge, another trek to the airport. A few hours ago I found myself running with such intensity of purpose and focus, that when I stopped to catch my breath, I was astounded that despite an assortment of glitches, what I needed to accomplish (before 11 a.m.) was – remarkably – 75% done!
I was also bowled over by fatigue.
I admit that at the moment I’m in a lull. One of the problems of an adrenaline rush is exactly that. This powerful stress hormone pushes us beyond (reasonable?) limits in a sort of survival mode. When we let up, we let down.
And I’m going to have to gear back up again – (much more to get done!) – and muscle through until midnight.
As I recognized the physical sensations that propelled me through those several hours, I was curious about adrenaline. I tend to power through the days and nights as a general rule, but not in the same near frantic, heart-pumping, seriously stressed-out fashion.
According to Dictionary.com, adrenaline (or adrenalin) is defined as follows:
US name: epinephrine a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to stress and increases heart rate, pulse rate, and blood pressure, and raises the blood levels of glucose and lipids.
I recall a few incidents in my life when I was in physical danger. Something kicked in – adrenaline, presumably – launching me into a state of hyper-awareness mixed with a chilling calm. Nothing else existed beyond those moments or minutes, and the focus on what had to be done was razor sharp, even as I felt my chest heaving and my body shaking.
A situation in which we’re at risk of bodily harm?
Adrenaline is great!
If you’re about to step out onto a stage and perform, or perhaps, stand up in front of a large crowd and give a speech? An “appropriate” amount of adrenaline may be just right.
But this? Isn’t it crazy that this adrenaline-fueled mode has become part of daily life? I really don’t want to live like a crazy woman.
I find myself grateful for a strong constitution, not to mention strong coffee.
But I wonder how I got here. I wonder how so many of my (women) friends find themselves in a similar place. More importantly, I wonder how we slow everything down – just enough – so we aren’t putting our health at risk, running on adrenaline too frequently and for too long.