Sometimes when I attend a social function it takes me a day or two to recover. It could have been the energy involved in a fun event with a hundred people or a one-on-one lunch with a negative person who does nothing but complain each and every time we get together.
Sometimes when I walk a half mile – either shopping or getting to and from a fun social gathering – it takes me a day to recover. Often there’s recovery involved when I have several stores to go to in one morning to get stuff done. I’d love nothing more than to be able to bee bop around without a concern about the ability of my legs to carry me back from where I came.
Getting old requires more daily recovering for me.
Sometimes that recovery is physical and sometimes it’s mental. Stress from external events such as the nearby wildfires many of us in California are experiencing accelerates our lack of ability to recover quickly.
Recovery from the Physical
When I’ve forgotten something upstairs or when I’ve left my recycle bags in the trunk of my car at the grocery store, I think long and hard about how much I really need to go back to get those things. It’s only one flight of stairs, right? And it’s wasteful to buy paper or plastic, right? I know that. I’m not lazy (well, not usually!), but I need to conserve my efforts so I’m able to move about the rest of the day. I feel the need to have something in reserve in case I need to sprint across the room to get the phone or answer the door. It wasn’t always this way.
I feel, all things considered, in pretty good shape but not like I used to be. I long for the days when I could hike and run and sprint from one end of the airport to the other. Age and weight and a few other contributing factors mean I’m more careful now. More recovery is required and planned. And, yes, I am well aware of the alternative of not being around to complain about the need for recovery!
Recovery from the Mental
Besides the physical, there’s the mental things that require my ability to parse out the energy to remember, pay attention, give feedback, provide a solution, and store everything for future use in my brain. I’m writing more things down.
I try to limit my prolonged social functions to 2-3 events a week. More than that, and I wind up spending one of my off days in bed, watching TV, reading, or just vegging. I’ve definitely become an introvert when considering larger social engagements. It’s draining to be “on” with lots of people. In these kinds of situations, I usually let others do the talking while I mostly listen. (It’s actually refreshing to not hear myself talk.) I can handle one-on-one-(or two) occasions better, assuming there isn’t a lot of drama or negativity involved.
While I accept that both my physical and mental abilities are being limited, I’ll just have to live with it. Have you experienced any reduction in your ability to recover from life?
I loved this article.. so resonated with me. Still in recovery mode from 2 weeks in Europe (vigorous, energetic tour).
What a wonderful reason to need some recovery time, Marylou! Travel can be particularly challenging in terms of finding private time to rest and recoup from a day filled with activities. Glad to hear you’re taking care of yourself.
I’m what they call a “social introvert.” When in a group or with just one other, I really can be “on” but it wears me out. I also attend classes at UCSD, as passive recipient, but I find it requires my brain to work harder than it used to. I need my personal time, and for me, that’s in the evening. I never go out in the evenings any more, preferring to do theater, concerts, college classes, exercise, etc. during the day. So, yes, I am running from morning until 5 or 6, but then I’m DONE. I don’t even talk on the phone unless it’s an emergency, not even to family. I eat dinner, have a small glass of wine, and watch my streamed entertainment. I read and listen to the news during the day–what happens at night can wait. I’m in bed early.
And that’s this social introvert’s life choice!
Wow, Christine, you have this figured out for you, which is great! You’ve given me a good idea about how I might handle things in the future in order to get recovery time. Thanks!
I can empathize with you Antonia and with Christine. My energy level is so much less than it used to be……I miss the “old days.”
I’m trying to embrace it, Tess, rather than fight it. We can be at the back of the pack. I’d love the company!