I’m in a Weather & Climate class this semester, and my brain was not made for science. It’s nice, in many ways, because unlike my other classes, there are concrete and defined answers for everything; it is NOT nice in other ways, like here’s a formula for translating Fahrenheit into Celsius, remember it and use it or you’ll be wrong.
[Also, I hope America doesn’t go metric during my lifetime because I’ll never adjust and there will be NO WAY FOR ME TO TELL how hot/cold it is ever again.]
[If you’re thinking “Rebecca, are you putting off doing your Weather & Climate homework to write this?” the answer is YES.]
But honestly, I’ve been thinking today about my energy levels and how I should be managing them. Grief takes energy, and sometimes it takes all you have. I’m in the stage of grief where my energy levels fluctuate, but most days I do have some left over from grieving. Grief doesn’t take everything I have anymore.
Some days I spend my extra energy going to the grocery store, or doing dishes, or sweeping up pet hair. [If you’ve seen my house lately, you know my housekeeping skills are…..slapdash, shall we say.] Some days I push myself to get a lot of school done; other days, I do one thing and think “whew, a scholar like me deserves a break!” and then I go watch TV and knit for the rest of the day. What I’m saying is, grief is the variable and my mental and emotional and physical energy is far from constant.
I recently had an old friend re-establish contact with me online. I won’t air their problems here, but I will say while I love this person, I’m not at all sure I’m ready to have an ongoing friendship with them. In the past, I’ve supported them emotionally, and I’ve ended up feeling manipulated and used. I don’t want to have that dynamic in this friendship anymore, but I don’t want to have a frank [brutal?] discussion that potentially drives them over the edge. I know that another adult’s health [physical, mental, emotional] is not my responsibility. But I care for my friend and I want to do no harm.
Do I have the energy to re-establish this friendship? Do I want to risk becoming an emotional support prop to a person who has dropped in and out of my life? SHOULD I have the energy for this? SHOULD I take on some of my friend’s burdens?
Isn’t that what friendship is? And SHOULDN’T I be open to supporting a person who is dear to me? Ah, my old friend, the DO I/SHOULD I seesaw.
Hoo, boy. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t want to leave my friend in the lurch; equally, I don’t want to be left in the lurch if they decide to drop out of my life again. I don’t know if I can handle the demands of my grief AND support my friend. I don’t know if I can communicate my misgivings and expect my friend to respond in a mature and healthy way.
I haven’t messaged back yet. I think I’ll let it sit for a couple days, because I need time to figure out my energy budget. [HAH, Weather and Climate reference!]
If you’re stuck on the old energy merry-go-round with me [is it a merry-go-round or a seesaw? my metaphors are oscillating], I guess what I’m saying is : Do what you can, when you can. Only you can decide what you have the energy to do. Let people help you, and be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself.
Someday joy will come back. I’m waiting on it with you.