My mom would say that as a kid growing up I always “wanted something going on”. It seemed most of my life I heard about those years when I yearned for activity to be around me, with new things to think about or explore.
Almost in the same breath when she recounted those years my mom was sure to add she always “just wanted a few minutes to sit down.”
I suspect every kid, and all parents understand both sides of the coin.
I really had not given much thought to those words over the years until this past week. As a result of all that is taking place in Madison due to the political chaos running wild, I now understand a bit more about what my mom was talking about.
Plainly put, I am exhausted.
I am not a union organizer, nor am I a state employee. (And no, this post is not a political column.) Instead I am just a citizen that has run on adrenaline for three weeks and I seem unable to turn off the excitement, and have no ability to ratchet down the events that are stirring me in all directions.
As a result I am really running out of energy.
As a kid I loved when my grandparents would bale hay in the field close to my home. At times I even was able to ride on the wagon. I looked forward to the day when construction was to start on our country road. Motor graders belching dark smoke and huge dump trucks with dirt was perfect drama for a boy. The razing of our barn, and the birth of a new building was great fun, even if it included my stepping on a nail. (A rusty one. Well, if you are going to do it…do it right.) But in each case the event came, stayed a while, and then it was over.
Don’t get me wrong.
These past weeks in Madison have been a dream come true. I love politics, journalism, debates on issues, and new things to blog about. Living within range of hearing the voices of 30,000 (or more) chanting citizens at the State Capitol is amazing. Stepping off my front stoop and knowing that the events on the front page of the paper are not in another nation, or even state, but just up the way is nothing short of remarkable. Walking a few blocks to where the action is, and seeing it in person is just a real powerful feeling.
One of my friends that I met back at broadcasting school wrote me a note the other day. “This must be like Christmas, New Year’s, and your birthday all rolled up together”. He was right. I am in my element with all the excitement.
But I feel emotional overload.
I am connected in a personal way as I care about the issues, and have many friends who are involved. As such at the end of the day I find myself talking with others I know to either vent a bit or debrief and share tidbits I picked up through the day. I love to hear their views, and some gossip.
In the morning I find myself not just reading the local paper but evaluating it to see how the front page was laid out, and what message was trying to be sent with the placement of stories.
I have the remote welded to my hand at news time to flip through the local channels to see how and what is being covered in this drama.
I have posted more on this one story than any other news topic on my blog. That it is taking place so close to where I live makes this a chance to see events unfold and comment along the way. I feel an obligation to my readers to paint the picture of events from my perspective. This past week I had my highest number of hits in one day. Just shy of 10,000 readers came to my blog on Wednesday. Humbly put, not bad for a one-man blogging operation.
But along the way I have lost weight, and rubbed up to those physical limitations I should not cross. I was reminded of that this week after introducing myself to a woman who works at the Capitol and reads my blog. She said, “I thought you would be younger,” and then started to apologize. I laughed and told her no offense was taken.
But I do feel older tonight.
So I plan to try and tamp down the adrenaline high, and kick back this weekend with a good read.
In the book “Going Home To Glory”, a memoir about President Eisenhower after leaving the White House, grandson David Eisenhower pens in the first paragraph a reminder that things always do get back to being normal.
On Inauguration Day 1961 President Eisenhower and Mamie are driven from Washington to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Leading the way is a car with Secret Service agents. The last line of the paragraph is quite remarkable.
“When the Eisenhowers approached the entrance to their Gettysburg farm, the Secret Service honked the horn and made a U-turn, heading back to Washington.
Things returned to normal that quickly.