I’ve been thinking about this lately, because I’ve had a serious downturn in my recovery this week. I can speculate about why, but to be honest I’m not entirely certain. My body is rebelling, and it goes from vaguely achey to gobsmackingly, agonizingly painful. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m supposed to be getting better, not worse. I have work to do! This is getting seriously old; I’m so over the whole illness thing. I want a normal, reliable body back.
This state has brought me some insight into things I should be more grateful for when I’m not sick. Sadly, the best way I can think of to communicate it is with a money metaphor.
When it comes to energy, most people are billionaires. They have so much energy that they occupy most of the day spending it frivolously and furiously. Jetting up and down the stairs, dancing, talking long walks, fidgeting. Some people make a point of trying blowing their entire savings account as often as possible by running or doing aerobics or other expensive activities. Obviously this practice is very good for their local energy economies, because by the time they wake up every morning they have earned all their energy back in interest. Their savings accounts are constantly replenished by a good night’s sleep. Billionaires never have to count their cash; even when their wallets appear empty, their savings are merely on temporary hold.
And then there are the energy poor. They only have a few dollars in their pockets from the start, so they have to decide what they need to spend it on over span of the day. Each purchase needs to be carefully thought out and considered. Need to walk up the stairs a few times? In order to do it, a few other things need to be crossed off the list, like the ability to focus and concentrate, or being able to communicate with others for the duration of the day. The energy poor conserve so carefully that stray body movements are controlled; do you need to fidget while on the bus? Once you’ve sat down, do you really need to shift your limbs? The original action is enough to get you there. Sitting still until the next necessary action seems like a good move. This isn’t an endless cup of riches, it’s only a handful of change. While billionaires get their money back every morning, the energy poor have to wait much longer than that. Sleep doesn’t give them the energy interest boost; they need a few days to earn that energy back. Billionaires rarely need to pull out a credit card, but if they do, they can rest assured that balance can be repaid very quickly; the poor draw their line of credit from their joints, muscles, bones, and heart; slapping that card down at the till means sacrificing some bodily well-being for a few more hours of activity, a few more flights of stairs, an hour or two of conversation. At the end of the day the poor have an empty bank account and the stinging pain of physical debt, waiting for a pay packet.