On energy and wishing for more

I used to have a neighbor on the block where we lived before the nest emptied whose boundless energy rivaled that of the Energizer Bunny. She was continually working on some major home improvement or landscaping project. I'd see her down the street tugging and lugging boulders and boards from the front yard to the back on a fairly regular basis.

When not sawing or painting, she cleaned in ways most might do in the spring — only she did it weekly. Bedding airing out as it hung from her upper windows was a regular sight (she was originally from a European country and still spoke with a heavy accent) as were the sounds of power tools and cleaning machines of sorts not used often at my place.

This woman — a mother of two boys and not much younger than me — didn't exude the stressed-out, continually busy vibe of someone with issues in need of addressing and nervous energy to burn. No, she was peaceful. And content. And full of energy.

tired pointer pit dogSo not like me.

I think of that neighbor often. I can't count the number of times I've told Jim, "Oh, just imagine the things I could do if I had the energy of [that neighbor]."

I thought of her again yesterday morning after shoveling snow from my driveway and sidewalk and from my elderly neighbor's sidewalk. I didn't have the energy to do my neighbor's driveway, too.

I finished the chore — a job Jim typically does but I took it on as Jim has a dreadful sinus infection — then came inside. I unbundled and sat down in front of the computer to warm up, check my mail and, hopefully, re-energize for the day ahead.

Then a funny thing happened. The email at the top of my list was from a PR rep I'd never worked with before. It started off like this:

"Like many of us, you are likely racing through the things you love and often lack energy for the people you love. You could say that you’re part of the Human Energy Crisis: running out of energy before running out of time."

Oh.My.Goodness. How did she know?

Brooke Burke Charvet and Jordan Vogt RobertsScreening host and celebrity mom Brooke Burke-Charvet, left, and Jordan Vogt-Roberts arrive at the Quaker Good Energy Lodge at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision for Quaker/AP Images)I continued reading. I was being asked to share a video that premiered at The Sundance Film Festival last Friday. About energy. Human energy. A short film Quaker Oats collaborated on with Sundance Film Festival alumni Jordan Vogt-Roberts depicting the Human Energy Crisis using real stories from moms and their families.

I watched the video and responded with a yes. I said yes because I now know I'm far from alone in feeling like I simply never have enough energy, that my former neighbor is an anomaly, not like the rest of us. I said yes because you, my readers, are possibly more like me than like her.

Sheesh... what a relief to know there are others strugging with low energy, too. I thought time and again that I'm just a slug. Or maybe that I buy the wrong kind of vitamins (for those times I actually remember to take my vitamins).

So here is that film, "Not A Matter of Time." It's only about five minutes long, so take a look and see if it resonates with you as it did with me. (Though it features mothers, not grandmothers, we're still moms struggling to meet the energy required of our position):


In addition to the video (which was well received at Sundance), Quaker urges folks to check out the Quaker Facebook page and website for more information.

One interesting feature on the website is the Quaker Human Energy Index, which monitors America’s energy levels based on real-time conversations on Twitter. Some findings:

  • One-third of Americans experience chronic fatigue
  • 83 percent of Americans wish they had more time to spend with friends and family
  • In a 24-hour period, 161,848 people tweeted about being energetic, while 430,278 people tweeted about being exhausted. (Interestingly, the little circles on the graphic show I live in a region of "exhausted" people.)

Quaker Oats invites you to join the Human Energy Crisis conversation by using the hashtag #QuakerUp on social networks and sharing what you do when full of good energy.

Now, I want to make clear this is not a sponsored post, that I received no compensation for sharing this. That said, though, I did receive a boost of energy upon learning — to frame this in a way befitting my regular "What I learned this week" Friday postings — that sometimes things just line up. In unexpected ways. Call it the workings of the universe or karma or whatever, but the bottom line is this: I lamented having no energy and *POOF!* there's information on exactly that in my inbox.

(Of course, perhaps it's simply a sign I need to eat more oatmeal.)

Along with that burst of energy, I also received the perfect question and photo for today's question of the day, so here goes:

Brooke Burke Charvet at SundanceBrooke Burke-Charvet at the Quaker Good Energy Lodge at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision for Quaker/AP Images)

Today's fill-in-the-blank:

If I had more energy I would ________________.