As I get better, a lot of the posts I would have posted had I had the energy are going to come out. A lot of them were drafted weeks before they will be polished and published. This one I probably should have just published when I wrote it, but here it is.
l recommend reading the Spoon Theory in the words of its creator, here, but for those who like a blog post to be more self contained I’ll summarise it. Healthy people have energy in large quantities to get them through the day, so they don’t need to be aware of how much they spend. People with limiting health conditions have to budget and ration and be aware of every energy expenditure. Spoons are a metaphor for units of energy. Once you’ve spent all your spoons for the day you’d better lie down until tomorrow because you just can’t achieve any more.
Did you brush your hair today? You spent 1 spoon on that. Had a shower? That was another spoon gone. Unless you shaved your legs and / or washed your hair which each cost at least 1 more spoon. Just getting through a normal morning routine consumes whole handfuls of spoons. If you’re healthy enough that spoons are easy come, easy go, then that’s a small drop in your shiny spoon ocean. But what if you only had 16 spoons to last the day? You know you’ll need to spend spoons on feeding yourself later. On fetching drinks and going to the toilet. Those are pretty essential. Some people wake up with even fewer spoons than 16 (a number l picked at random). Sometimes things you can’t control will demand your spoons. Things like bad news, a spilt glass of water that must be mopped before it gets to the electrical socket or interpersonal conflict steal the spoons right out of your hands.
I wish I’d been aware of spoon theory a few months ago. I was living with so few spoons then. Now I have more. Still few enough that I can’t spend prolifigately but enough to have had reasonably clean, brushed hair everyday for weeks now. Enough to get through most days without reaching for a spoon that I don’t have. Maybe one day I’ll be a spoon millionaire again but right now it feels great to realise how much richer in spoons I have become. I can look at today and marvel at how many spoons l spent without running out. As I get fitter I have stopped worrying about the energy spend for every little routine thing I do but as a side effect I’ve stopped noticing how much I’m achieving each day. Being mindful of my spoons will help me see I am making progress and make me grateful for all the things I can do.