Life In The Fast Lane

“You will break
the bow

If you keep it
always bent.”

– Ancient Indian Proverb

There are a number of reasons that life becomes busy. Activity and demands come screaming into play from every conceivable angle. Even worse, left unchecked, each of these demands possesses the ability to push us into overload. Unless consciously monitored, the activities crawl outside of their respective borders resulting in an eventual drain of more juice than we have to give.

Even when wrapped up with involvements that are ultimately fulfilling and bring a measure of enjoyment, if you are in the spotlight, if you are in charge, if a heavy dose of responsibility falls upon your shoulders; then your batteries are discharging. The temporary rush of adrenaline can bolster an instant surge of additional energy, but the exhaustion falls to a deeper level when the lights go out and the curtains are drawn.

We pour our energy into work, play, family and friends. There is always something to do and someone to do it with. Opportunity knocks and we respond out of impulse. We go. We go because we want to go. We go because we feel the need to go. We go because others are going. We go because NOT going leaves us with a biting tinge of guilt that is hard to suppress. The reasons, the causes, the call never ends. We just go. 


– How’s your daily pace? Is it structured and stable or would frantic and hectic be a more accurate description?

– How’s the workload? Are you able to shut it down when the clock indicates that it’s time to turn the key and walk away or do you frequently work past QT and even carry it home with you when you leave the office?

– How much of your day falls into the column of enjoy by comparison to the portion that falls under the heading of endure?

– Are you taking the time to eat right or eating on the run? Are you taking care of your physical well-being? Are you getting sufficient sleep and/or rest?

– How’s your sense of humor these days? When’s the last time you were actively involved in a casual, non-work related, conversation? Can you remember or have you been too preoccupied for such trivial distractions?

– How long has it been since you spent more than 24 hours away from the demands?

Blowin’ and burnin’, blinded by thirst
They didn’t see the stop sign,
Took a turn for the worse.

Life in the fast lane
Surely make you lose your mind
Life in the fast lane,
everything all the time.

Released by The Eagles in 1976, Life In The Fast Lane was destined to find airtime on radio stations across the country for decades. The monumental success of co-authors, Joe Walsh, Don Henley, and Glen Frey, put them on a non-stop ride through their own Fast Lane without the hope of ever finding an exit ramp.

In 1980, while the band was still peaking in popularity, the lane came to a screeching halt. A year later, when asked about the band’s sudden break up, Don Henley described it as “a horrible relief.”

Glen Frey described it this way, “Sleep-deprived and lyric-depleted, we were in every way exhausted. Our five-year climb to the top of the rock pile, and the four ensuing years spent trying to stay there, had taken a heavy toll on all of us. . . we could soldier no more.”

Burning the candle at both ends for years at a time took its toll on the wildly popular band, robbing them of their peaceful, easy feeling. They had taken it to the limit for as long as they could and the end came abruptly, with a whimper.

* * * * * *



The Soviets were found to be testing nuclear war heads in Eastern Kazakh, USSR, less than 45 days after signing the Seabed Treaty with the US, UK and others, outlawing nuclear weapons . . .

The Charles Manson murder trials played out as winter turned to spring . . .

The Congressional Black Caucus organized in January . . .

The Supreme Court upheld a decision that mandated busing as the optimum way to desegregate the nation’s school system . . .

Joe Frazier beat the audacious Cassius Clay, who had converted to Muslim and changed his name to Muhammad Ali as a war protest . . .

Major League Baseball announced the addition of a special Hall of Fame wing for blacks and inducted Satchel Paige . . .

There was bomb attack on the Capitol Building in Washington DC . . .

The nation breathed a sigh of relief as Apollo 14 reached the moon and returned to earth without incident . . .

Richard Nixon installed a secret taping system in White House . . . The United Nations proclaimed the Vernal Equinox as Earth Day . . .

“Oh! Calcutta!” opened in NYC and brought full live nudity to Broadway . . .

Archie Bunker debuted in the TV Series “All In The Family” and the taboo topic of gay relationships was featured for the first time on TV in an episode that aired just before Valentine’s Day . . .

Nineteen Seventy-One was a tumultuous year!

Envelopes were pushed.
                               Stress levels were high.
                                                         Rebellion spilled over into open society.

Communism and Democracy continued to butt heads in the jungles of Vietnam. Community tension between the races maintained a very distinct edginess. The Senate even lowered the national voting age from 21 to 18, outraging many who thought that 21 was already too young. George Harrison’s 1970 release, My Sweet Lord, which openly promoted the Hare Krishna cult movement, topped the charts in February of 1971. Paul Simon’s, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was awarded Song of the Year at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards.

It was during this time that a four-year old, fledgling hamburger company named McDonald’s changed their slogan to “You Deserve A Break Today!

Overnight, the company experienced records sales. Americans wanted a break. Americans needed a break. Americans embraced McDonald’s as being a refuge where “breaks” could be had in the form of a hamburger, fries and vanilla shake.

The slogan was repackaged in 1980. They phrased in the form of a question, “Have you had your break today?” in 1995 and converted into the reciprocation, “We love to see you smile!” in the year 2000.

A “blowin’ and burnin’, blinded by thirst” pace can be kept for extended periods of time, but red-lining can only be maintained for so long before it gives way to breakdown. We know our capabilities. We know our limits. And, often we exceed them for a variety of reasons:

Responsibility – “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.” The statement is true and unarguable, but only a small percentage of the time. Give up the crutch and realize that more often than not: if you don’t do it, someone else will.  Side Note – Sometimes, someone else should.

Guilt – “If I don’t do it, I’m letting them down.” This statement is also true, but they will recover. They may also have someone else who can and will fill the void.  Side Note – Sometimes it’s good to give someone else the opportunity to step up.

Sense of Void – “If I don’t do it, I don’t know what else I’d do instead.” Sadly, this statement is also true and all too often I’m afraid. This one is of our own making. Gradually, methodically, we have locked ourselves out of our own lives to the point where everything we do is driven by the need to fill a void for someone else.  Side Note – If you don’t take care of you, you’ll reach the point where you can’t take care of them, even though you want to do so.

* * * * * * *


So, how did you fair on the initial set of questions? If your needle is in the red zone, you need to plan a step back – an honest to goodness break from everything that carries a tag of responsibility. It’s time to reacquaint yourself with the ability to relax, to recharge, to recuperate.

No one else can do this for you and you not only owe it to yourself, you owe it to those who love and depend on you.

See that carrot? The one dangling in the gentle breeze, just outta reach? It’ll be there when you get back. . . I promise.