“And One More Thing…” Are You a Photo-voltaic Cell or a Rechargeable Battery?

OK, first I have to admit I know nothing about photovoltaic cells. But I think I am one. The more sunshine they soak up, the more power they have to give, right? That’s me.

(orig. image courtesy Wikimedia)

(orig. image courtesy Wikimedia)

The Mate, on the other hand, is a rechargeable battery. He can give and give, go and go, work and work, but when he runs down? Boom–that’s it. No more. Time to turn on ESPN. Or better yet, go to bed early with a good mystery.

The other night, after a four a.m. to noon shift at the bakery, followed by a trip to the dump, followed by a two and a half-hour rehearsal, followed by a run (which, admittedly, turned into a partial walk, but still, I kept moving!), followed by dinner, I started making a birthday cake for a friend, and announced that, as soon as it was dark enough, I intended to take our kayak out for a brief paddle in what I hoped was enough bioluminescence to make the experience even cooler than just a normal nighttime excursion.

“Aren’t you TIRED?” The Mate asked me. “I’m exhausted just watching you.”

Thing is–yes, of course I was tired! That’s why I kept doing stuff. Sitting down to rest in the middle of all that activity? Yeah, THAT’s deadly. No way would I have had the energy to go back out if I’d let myself sit down.

Instead of the sun, I think what powers my go-go-go-go-ness is fear. Really and truly. I fear regret. Specifically, I fear regretting having missed out on anything I might have done, any person I might have talked to, trip I might have gone on, gathering I might have attended. (Except staff meetings. DON’T miss those at ALL.)

So I try to fit it all in. 

This habit of “just one more thing” extends to all car trips. The Mate has learned to ask, “Any swing-bys?” before we get in the car, knowing my habit of asking, “Oh yeah, can we just swing by ____ on the way to take care of ____?”

It also extends to time. Appointment at noon, at a place 30 minutes away? I will leave at 11:31, carefully using every minute up till that time to put dishes away, check email, make a birthday cake…whatever. I won’t be LATE late, but I sure won’t be early. Of course The Mate finds this habit absolutely infuriating a little trying.

(Orig. image courtesy Flikr Creative Commons)

(Orig. image courtesy Flikr Creative Commons)

How about you? Are you a do-too-mucher like me, or a take-time-to-breather like my Mate? What charges YOU?

4 thoughts on ““And One More Thing…” Are You a Photo-voltaic Cell or a Rechargeable Battery?

  1. Gretchen, that’s the best way to a heart attack or a stroke or burnout or what have you. I think i am more like the mate, take your time, take a break in between, relax!!!!!! RELAX!!!!
    I think you are taking after your dad, (as much as you look like your mom ,-) ) The world will keep spinning even if you sit in an armchair reading a book!
    I wish you would plan a trip to Europe one of these days! And a stopover in Austria! I would so much like to see you and the mate ;-).

  2. Monica, for most people, I would say yes, you’re right. But for people like me…I AM relaxed living this way! It’s when I try to do less that I get restless! Plus, at nearly 52, I am literally the healthiest person I know, so I don’t think I’m running any health risks. 🙂

    As to Austria…yeah, we’ve talked about it. One of these years! If only America didn’t have so much to offer. I hate international travel, even though of course I love it once I’m there…

  3. I think I’m a hybrid. When I’m in the flow, I will do and do until I can’t. Last night, for example, there was a near-full moon, and that tends to feed my creative energies. I wrote until I realized I was staring blankly at the screen and keyboard. Lots of people have trouble sleeping, but I seldom do – I go until I’m done, then sleep till I awake…

    People tend to label me as busy – but, like you, I’m just living. I don’t frame it through a fear of regret as much as I do a tendency to want to live my one life richly, with texture and intent and awareness and joy…

    Most of the time, my life is like a smooth river, lapping at it’s shores, always moving, with a natural flow that involves surges, ebbs, and more frantic times….

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