January's NaBloPoMo theme is energy. My initial thought upon hearing this theme was to wonder "what energy; I don't have any." But then I realized that I do. We all do. In fact, although there are days when I am seriously dragging and it doesn't feel that way, I have a lot of energy. After all, I must if I am to accomplish everything that is required of me.
So what energizes me? Ironically, being busy keeps me going. If I have a single task to accomplish in any given day (when was the last time that was really the case?), then it will take me all day to complete it. If I have ten tasks to complete, somehow my momentum carries me through and all ten items will get crossed off of my list before my head hits the pillow that night. I doubt I'm so unusual in this case; after all isn't it always the same over worked, over committed people who keep volunteering to take on even more responsibilities?
I can readily identify two actual activities (beyond the general keeping busy) that gives me energy. First, I realize that being around other people energizes me the most. Friends and family have the biggest positive effect but in their absence any talking human being will do. This is why, in my pre-child days when Glenn was at sea and some long weekends felt very, very long, I would make a concerted effort to get out of the house. Even if it was only to go to Target or Starbucks, just getting out and talking to other people --even if they were strangers--had the rejuvenating effect I craved. Picking up the phone or logging onto the computer works as well, but there really isn't any substitute for good old fashioned face-to-face interactions. As much as I love my solitude at times, I would never do well on a deserted island!
Secondly, and I think this is more a factor of my current circumstances, traveling outside of Albania gives me the larger sense of energy I need to keep plugging along. While there are many wonderful things about the country and the experiences we have had, that living here affords us, day to day life is hard. Very hard. Whether it is driving, grocery shopping, or just getting out and exploring, everything is more difficult here than it is elsewhere and over time, this daily struggle pulls me down. As a family we've discovered that getting away from it all gives recharges our batteries in a way that nothing else can. A few days stay in a nice hotel room, driving on well maintained roads (or taking advantage of safe public transportation), dining in smoke free restaurants, and playing tourist in countries where law and order is both expected and respected, revitalizes us in a way that prior to moving to Albania would have been impossible to imagine. Regardless of where we go, we returned feeling renewed and ready to face the new challenges that are thrown our way.
So, as we launch into a new year I am feeling very energized. We've just returned from a trip to Germany and have a trip to Austria looming on the horizon. My schedule is busy with lots of activities and I've had some great conversations with friends this week. I am as energized as the Energizer Bunny at the moment so bring it on-- I'm ready for it!