Running on Empty

The 20s are all about doing the most. There is no other time in our lives that will be like this. College is a microcosm of ideal situations that come together. With little responsibility save your own well-being, it's the best time to live life the fullest. Get as much out of what you are able to do daily here because sooner or later it'll be over and life changes, for better and worse. Adventure, explore, and exert yourself - what have you got to lose? You'll never know what you're capable of unless you push yourself; this is running on empty.
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You know how people have that one thing they are super passionate and knowledgeable about? It's the thing that they can talk about endlessly and when they do their eyes light up. For a lot of guys I know it's sports, alcohol, or cars. I on the other hand don't care for any of the above but have learned a lot, particularly in the past year about them all. Learned the basics of rugby and lacrosse, nuances of brewing techniques, and what shifting gears means. In thinking about what it means push yourself, the analogy of giving all you've got until you break personal records whether that be running for rugger training or zooming around a track, seems to work perfectly. This concept of "running on  empty" piqued my interest in how words can be taken literally. Even when your gas gauge points to empty you still can go a ways before a car completely sputters out. That's the state I'm concerned with. When you're run ragged, totally beat, and exhausted beyond functioning and yet still you surge forward, even it though it may be sluggish, you're still going. That's how limits are tested, retested, and reestablished. You have to run on empty to see how much further you can go.

The human body is truly a wonder. We are capable of so very much. Our capacities to learn, adapt, and survive are awe-inspiring. Think about some of the greatest minds, athletes, and innovators among us. Bill and Melinda Gates, Serena Williams, and Steve Jobs along with so many others represent just a bit of what we are endowed with. At the same time I think of  everyday people who carry on without homes, access to healthcare, or consistent foodstuff - their sustainment is even more of a testament to what people can do. When you think you can't do any more, take another step, or remain standing - hold on; you might just surprise yourself even if you're running on empty.
This past weekend has been a profoundly moving one in so many different ways, but that's another post to come this week. I want to focus instead on what it meant to make it through and how I ended up doing more than I ever thought possible. Here's my post from this exact time last year with Nonstop Go. It's been an intense couple of days. I've gone way beyond what I thought my limits were and I'm proud of what I have accomplished. Now I know even more so that I can continue past it all. Running on empty but enjoying it nonetheless.
So what happened this weekend?  Let's start with Thursday night. I spent my evening writing two papers, reading for class, and preparing for meetings. Hit the sheets at 3AM only to arise at 6AM to continue my work. I made it through my morning and afternoon of academics before heading home to pack for Rallython (12 hour dance marathon raising money for the University of Vermont Children's Hospital; you can still donate here - Rallython Donations). I did a Facetime interview for graduate school and then made my way to the student center to settle in. From working registration, to hitting the dance floor, to documenting the event, the night had me wide awake. The last four hours were brutal. I always dance way too hard and get into the music. I ended up changing 6 different things after being drenched with sweat repeatedly but it was more than worth it. The morale boosters and the powerful words from the patients turned champions were more than enough to keep me going. The sun peaked over the mountains in the distance and soon enough it was 7AM. 12 hours of dancing really take it out of you. I was running on empty with blistered feet, wet clothing, and severe dehydration but I was still going - running on empty.
Heading home in subzero temperatures with arctic blast winds was legitimately awful. My legs felt like they could give out at any moment but home I went. I showered, changed, and packed to head back to the student center for fashion show practice. It was the day of our big show and the first time we would get the clothes together, get to walk the real runway, and work out all the kinks. Time flew by as ran through the show over and over again. I was struggling hard but knew I could do it, especially since I did the same thing last year (#PrisonerofAskaban). Soon it show time and it was just like fashion week in New York - bare bodies, strew about clothing, and mad dashes to line up to walk. Running through the changing rooms, letting the crowd cheers fuel you, and keeping composure was such a rush. A couple hours later and it was all over. I stayed behind to help clean up and then made the trek back home to pass out. I have never even been so tired in the entirety of my life. Every part of my body ached but I didn't care. I had had an amazing couple of days that were more than worth the energy exerted. I knew I would recover. This is my college experience that's quickly winding down. I'm getting the most out of it even if it means running on empty.

My blog post question for the day is ... what's the longest you've gone without sleeping? I think my record was set this weekend was 40 hours. I don't recommend it.


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