“Wildflower; pick up your pretty little head,Nikki Rowe
It will get easier, your dreams are not dead.”
Vitality has two levels and both are equally important for a person to live life according to the strength of vitality. The first is physical vitality. This is when a person is physically well, therefore, displays energy. The second level is when a person emotionally engages activities with positive energy.
The first level is traditionally up to you and your doctor. Do not settle for just a diagnosis, strive for a solution, whatever it means. Modern medicine can only do so much. If you have a chronic condition like I have Fibromyalgia, one must find new definitions of well-being. You need to be the best well you can be within your physical limitations. Being sick does not mean you can never be well.
If an illness can be cured that is one thing, but if it cannot, there are levels of wellbeing that you can strive for. This usually requires research, learning as you go, and joining support groups. I recommend The Mighty. Please note that alternate levels of wellbeing are outside the purview of the average doctor. It is up to you and how much energy you are willing to put in. HOBOLIZ will discuss this level during another post another time.
The second level of vitality is the one I want to discuss today. Doing activities with enthusiastic energy. Tall ask for some activities I know. Therefore, energy conservation is so important and hence a balance between responsibilities and recreation is crucial. If you spend all your energy on what needs to be done, you are left with no energy for the things you want to do and your life becomes unrewarding. If you spend all your energy on doing the things you want and none of what needs to be done, well then, the consequences may vary depending on how far you take it. I imagine though it will leave you somewhere between broke, unemployed, divorced, or imprisoned, regardless, the result is not good.
Vitality is not the same as passion
If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. This cliché is true, but I always feel it could also be the intro to a cautionary tale. This is because again, it leaves no room for balance. There is a reason it is a popular slogan for pyramid schemes and cults. No, vitality is a strength because it encourages you to put positive energy into everything you do, assuming that you are careful in balancing your activities wisely. Thus, that which must be done and that which wants to be done gets done with the same level of enthusiasm. This strength makes life rewarding and uplifting. When others see you do hard work with enthusiasm it is inspiring and makes vitality contagious.
What does Vitality look like?
‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’ ‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’ ‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting to-day?’ said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.(Milne, 2006, p. 147).
My almost-two-year-old son is the perfect example of vitality. He eats his breakfast, brushes his teeth, unpacks his toybox, or destroys our garden with the same high intensity of excitement. My daughter, who is six already moans about certain activities, but not my son. Everything he does, he does with joy and this includes his chores such as feeding the dogs. You can argue that he is too young to distinguish between the things he must and the things he wants to do. I would rephrase that argument. I propose that he is not yet cynical about the things that must be done. It is fun for him because he makes it fun. My job as a parent is to encourage him to keep seeing it that way. We could experience that level of pleasure too if we made that choice for ourselves.
in reality vitality is a little different
Cleaning house is a chore I hate. I am not going to tell you porky pies. I am not going to pretend that my house is sparkling clean, because, like Mary Poppins, I am singing and cleaning my way through every room. NOT happening! I could if I wanted, but honestly, then I would not have the energy to do anything else. That is the truth. In the priorities of my life, as it stands right now, facing COVID, a clean house is not important. Since my sister’s death, writing for this blog is not an everyday priority. If a company were paying me to write, things would be different. Or at least my choices would be different.
What does it look like for me?
My goal at this very moment in my life is very selfish. On a bad day, my goal is just to ensure that I, as a person can function. In other words, get out of bed and be alive with as much vitality as I can muster. Honestly, some days that does not even get me as far as getting out of my pyjamas. On better days it is about being there for my family with as much vitality as I can muster. Again, those days do not always look as peachy as I would like. On my best days, I muster enough vitality for myself, my family, and my writing. Those are my favourite days. Admittedly those days require a lot of help from my moms because small children and writing are NOT COMPATIBLE. I forgive myself for my bad days so that I can have the energy to achieve my good days.
What about you?
I hope that you, whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever your choices, that you can do the same. Prioritise your survival first. Find ways to make everything you need to do enjoyable and approach all your activities with excitement. Drop the energy-sapping stuff that are not important. They will get done when they need to. Perhaps the answer lies in the family cleaning together. Maybe the answer lies in starting small fun projects that finally lead to bigger more rewarding projects. Only you know what needs to be done and what you like to enjoy. I hope you are making enough time for both. I also hope that you are making the not so fun stuff as fun as possible. Use music, singing, bribery, or imagination in any way you want. I hope you will share your winning strategies with us.
My sister, Cherine, finds that she can better face stressful tasks after she has organised something. I think that might be her superpower – wish I was more like that. That is why, with her permission, her neat cupboard is my chosen image for this strength.
What is your super power?
Till we chat again TTFN…