Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 774 (326) Energy

This is retirement talk. I'm Del Lowery.

Where does our energy go? Retirement has brought this more keenly into my mind recently. Perhaps it isn't retirement as much as being seventy-nine years old. I can't seem to find a way to renew that energy the way I used to. I'm thinking of sleeping more? More Vitamins? More exercise? More food? Hard to believe it could be more food. Less food?

Years ago one dark winter in Alaska I decided to rewrite the book on energy and time. I decided to stay up an extra hour each night so that I could extend my day. I would allow one week to adjust to the change and then I would jump another hour. The plan was to eventually gain four or five hours a night. I would then be able to sleep just four hours and do so much more each day. I was one, young ambitious guy. That is one way to look at it. Of course the other way to look at it was that I was one young, stupid guy.

My first attempt at extending the day was not so difficult. The week passed and I gained one hour of reading each night. The second week saw me making a pot of caffeinated coffee at 10 o'clock. Now I was staying up till midnight and yet moving through each day with just a bit of a drag. Then the goal became 1 am. The coffee continued to flow but I ceased to function. Impossible. I crashed. Slept all of one weekend and realized that energy had disappeared right along with the sleep. We can't buy sleep or energy. It just has to be replenished in a natural way.

Energy is one of those things that always seems in short supply. Thus it always has a high value. We see this when we drive our cars or when we heat our house. We feel this at the end of each day when we finally succumb to personal loss and lay our head on a pillow. It seems like there ought to be a way to beat the system; a way to get around this loss and keep right on moving. I wish.

There have been other times in life when personal energy tended to fade and then was restored. A thyroid problem resides deep within my family genes . When the problem first occurred to me my energy was completely gone. I was dragging from day to day for months. The medical analysis and one little pill a day fixed it all. Lucky me. That was nearly thirty years ago and I'm still moving.

There are so many things that can go wrong. We all have energy issues at some time or another in our life. The causes and the remedial actions are varied if even possible. For some it may be no gluten, for others exercise, for some it may be B12 and for others help may come through acupuncture or a heart operation. These are the lucky ones. Many of us find no help or remedy available. The energy is dwindling and there is no magic pill or treatment that can help.

Retirement brings lots of changes to our lives. One is that we continue to age if we are lucky. As we age we change physically and mentally. We have to be careful attributing change to aging. It may be something else. Then again it may in fact be aging.

We ran into an older man walking in the rain a few days ago. It was 11 o'clock in the morning and time for us to get in some exercise but it was raining hard. We decided to go anyway. We met only one person on our walk of two or three miles that wound along a stream and through a large park that is nearby: Fred. Since we had met no one else we paused to exchange pleasantries with Fred. We see him regularly walking one way as we bike the other. We have said hello for years but on this rainy day we had time to stop and talk.

Fred is 93 and he walks over two miles each day. I asked him what his secret was to exceptional health and longevity. He responded with a story of a friend who had just died. She responded to the same question with, "You live to be 100 and then you need to be careful". She died at age 104.

Energy is a precious commodity. We want to put one step in front of the other. The tank will eventually run dry but if there is a way to get a refill or plug any leaks we want to take advantage. Coffee, even a double americano may not be the only option. I’m betting on exercise, vegetarianism, music and simplification of life in general. But we all know our genetics play a major role; along with luck. I just don’t want to get hit by a bus. That will sure sap your energy.












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