My nickname is Squirrel. I’m known among my friends for scurrying around, being busy and excitable. This way of being is woven into my sense of identity.
I don’t remember when it started, but over the past few years I’ve realised my energy levels aren’t actually limitless. Where I used to bounce back after a busy weekend or a late night, it can now take several days to shake off the exhaustion. A stressful day at work can have me dozing off at 7pm and I’ve been regularly avoiding nights out as I know that come 10 o’clock I’ll be wishing I was at home and in bed.
My partner introduced me to the Spoon Theory last year, which has given me a framework and a language with which to manage – or ration – my energy. It’s useful, to a degree. Partly I struggle with being sensible with my energy as I don’t want to have to even think about it. I’m 31, not an old lady. I am angry that I can’t keep up with my friends.
I was thinking about this earlier this week and glanced over at my phone, which was plugged in to charge while I was at work. And then it hit me. Have I become complacent? There is never an excuse for a dead phone battery as I can always recharge it – I am rarely far from a plug socket in this city. I have taught myself that I can use my phone as much as I like, and if it runs low I can simply plug it in. I do not ration its use to ensure it is available on my way home or in case of emergency. This attitude isn’t restricted to my phone – I live in a bubble of abundance. When I am hungry, I eat. When I need money, I visit an ATM. Resources are readily available to me, generally as and when I need them.
Is it any wonder then, that I have difficulty accepting that my own body can’t keep up with the demands I place on it? Why I find it frustrating that I can’t just have more energy when I need it?
I was still busy kicking myself about this when a second thought occurred. Perhaps I SHOULD treat my body like my phone. I don’t want a dead battery and because of this, I keep it charged up. It’s not magic that keeps my phone charged – it’s planning ahead.
So perhaps it’s not about rationing exactly, but about taking proactive steps to keep my battery charged up. Regular breaks, meditation, quality rest, eating well and sleeping well are all good ways to keep me going. I don’t have to stop being a squirrel. It’s who I am after all.