"I can get around on the freeways but, not being the same as back home, it takes more energy. Likewise, navigating the aisles at the local supermarket. But the real energy grabber is making friends. To make five good friends I have to get to know fifty people. Do you know how much energy and time that takes?" So spoke with an Ohioan who moved to Houston to be with his grandchildren.
Reflecting on his complaint has made me wonder if, perhaps, it isn't change itself that is so disturbing to people as it is the anticipated drain of energy that change brings into our lives. We can feel weary just from thinking about our participation in an upcoming event.
Running, not walking, seems to be a natural state of the very young. Youths' muscles will twitch involuntarily on a Friday night with nothing to do. With age, though, any night of no activity receives a heartfelt sigh of relief, and any change of physical routine or shift in mental conviction can be an energy drain and is thus to be avoided.
It may be that the reason why some people - young or old - are so able to keep minds open to fresh ideas and bodies available for new adventures is a conscious, or unconscious, acceptance of one's energy depletion and the need for its replacement. A walk outdoors, listening to the waves on the beach, sewing, reading a novel, taking a nap or swimming are just some ways for energy replacement. The one place where there is no energy expended and none replaced is the place we all seem to want to avoid. So, finding a way to encourage and participate in change is a way of maintaining life.
If you really want to know you are fully alive, follow the queen who, in talking with Alice (in Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass", said: "When I was your age, I always did it (believed impossible things) for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Now, after that, a nap.
--Robert H. Tucker
9 March 1998