It’s all relative

I received the nicest compliment today, as I was zipping along on foot from one end of an outdoor shopping mall to the other (my natural walking speed is fast…it causes me great mental and physical consternation to have to actually stroll, unless I’m walking through, say, a botanical garden).
Anyway, I was closing in on my destination, when this older lady (70s, maybe) calls out to me, “Where do you get your energy?” 
I smiled and replied, “Sometimes I have NO idea.”
It’s true. Sometimes I am amazed that I manage to power through when I seem to be running on fumes. The last few weeks of the recently ended school term come to mind. There just always seems to be a little extra energy in reserve…somewhere.
I certainly don’t think of myself as having lots of energy. I guess that perception is relative to the energy level of the beholder. I tend to mutter “where do they get that energy” about small children and puppies. And my 6-year-old golden retriever, Dug. I swear, if I could bottle just a fraction of his morning energy, I’d be set for life. (Never mind that he gets to sleep most of the day.)
So where do I get my energy? From the Big Three, really: nutritious food, regular physical activity, and a good night’s sleep (most nights). I love my coffee, but I avoid using it as a crutch (that doesn’t mean you’re safe standing between me and the coffee maker when I get up in the dark and cold at 5:30 a.m.). There are many payoffs from living a healthy lifestyle, and one of them is that you don’t feel like you’re walking around heavy of body and foggy of mind. It’s also an immediate payoff, which is a good thing, because many benefits of a healthy lifestyle (like staying disease-free into old age) can feel kind of nebulous at times. Still, both short-term and long-term payoffs motivate my daily choices:
  • I intentionally eat food that doesn’t make me feel depleted now, and won’t deplete my health years from now.
  • I stay active because it makes me feel good now, and will help keep me healthy and independent decades from now
  • I get a good night’s sleep because it makes me feel my best now, and spares my future self from the toll that years of elevated stress hormones would take on my mind and body if I decided that “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
With any luck, when I’m in my 70s (or, heck, my 90s) people will still be asking me “Where do you get your energy.” Now, eat your veggies, go for a walk, and get some sleep!