THE BEST LAID PLANS

Did you start the New Year full of plans and resolutions? I know many did. Yet, nearly halfway through January, they find themselves unable to progress with new activities. It’s not necessarily lack of drive. Author Ann Richardson shares her thoughts on lack of energy.

All my life, I have felt out of sync with many assumptions of popular culture. One of these concerns leisure, such as finishing work for the day and going to a wine bar. The high point of the year is the summer holiday when you can finally lie down at the beach and avoid anything like ‘work’.

But a lot of people – like me – are more driven by the desire to do something, preferably something of value. To someone with this mind-set, the main use of doing nothing is to rest the brain and body, so as to fire on all cylinders for purposeful activities. Lazing around is not an end in itself.

There are many ways to be ‘useful’ – caring for others, building things from scratch, getting things done around the house, or doing something more creative.

We may not do these things well or be happy with the result. The key point is that the activity is important to us and helps us feel that time was well spent.

What makes us so clearly one way or the other?  It could be nature, nurture, or a combination of the two. My mother had a professional job while she raised three children, and I also attended a school whose motto was In truth and toil.

Whatever the cause, one sad discovery about growing older is that we get tired more easily. We lose our youthful resilience and our batteries run down faster. This starts at different ages for different people. It seems to creep up when we’re not looking and, as far as I can see, it worsens each year and saps our energy for getting things done.

For those eager to be active, lack of energy is incredibly annoying. It means we can’t work for long periods without becoming tired. And the definition of that long period slowly shortens from a day to half a day to even an hour. 

The body becomes a battleground – our head wants to get something done, but our body rebels. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, as the saying goes. At the end of a day, we find ourselves disappointed with the paltry amount accomplished.  And we had such great plans.

It’s not so different from the Covid-related lockdowns people have suffered in the UK and elsewhere. They are a kind of imprisonment that stops us doing what we want. One of my grandsons called it ‘being under house arrest’.

Lack of energy is close to house arrest too.

Ann Richardson

There are many causes of energy loss so I won’t offer any advice on what to do about it. But, if you enjoyed this post, I can recommend Ann Richardson’s latest book The Granny who Stands on Her Head.

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