desert creatures

The creatures of the desert lead an uncertain existence, perilously balanced between life and death … or so I’ve been told by a number of signs and notices throughout Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park. Park visitors are encouraged not to chase lizards, for example, because these small, desert reptiles spend what energy they have foraging for food and water, and can’t afford to be running around in the 110-degree weather or having their tails pulled off all the time. When you’re unfortunate enough to be a lizard living in Goblin Valley, such additional expenditures of energy can literally mean death.

While I don’t spend my days fleeing overzealous hikers or re-growing detachable pieces of my body, I have been feeling lately that I am not so unlike these miserable creatures, in a metaphorical sense. Which is not to say that I am metaphorically a cold-blooded animal or that I live in a metaphorical Goblin Valley. No, the connection I feel with these animals has to do with the fact that I often seem to be on the verge of running out of energy. I don’t feel like I lead an especially busy or active life, but everything I do takes its little investment: work, church, exercising, shopping, budgeting, cooking, cleaning, family, friends. Even seeking out rest and entertainment seems to demand energy.

There’s something else I’ve noticed. While I generally try to spend my time and effort responsibly on productive projects and goals, I’m feeling like the things I’m investing in lately aren’t yielding consistent returns. That is, I’m not always feeling reenergized as I make progress or fulfill goals. Sometimes I feel like I’m perched in the shadow of the rock, looking out over a weird, red-rock landscape, wondering if I have what it takes to make it through another day. Maybe I need to be focusing on different things, maybe it’s just this time of year when I wish it could be summer already.

In any case, I’m looking for ideas. What things do you do to recharge? How do you decide where to focus your energy and efforts? If you were to compare yourself to an animal, which animal would it be, and why?

6 responses to “desert creatures

  1. Jay, when you find out, let me know. I’m finding myself in the same position.
    I keep thinking a good vacation would re-energize, but then I think of all the planning and it makes me tired again. I think a string of 3 Saturdays in a row would do the trick. Organizing and feeling in control of my own life makes me feel much better. And 8 hours of sleep. Or purposely not doing something just so I don’t feel busy all the time.

  2. I like having a goal to keep me going. Not some personal improvement goal, but a goal like planning a trip to Kirtland/Palmyra/Quebec (planned for as soon as the semester gets out). The Europe goal kept me going for years.

    Of course, sometimes we just take too much onto ourselves. A couple of months ago I was thinking, “Wow, I’m doing this, and this, and this–all time-consuming, high-responsibility things that I never thought I’d do, and especially not all at once.” So I just took 12 credits this semester, and while I’m still busy, it’s not quite as bad.
    After all, even a lizard can only regrow a section of its tail once. The bones of the second tail are unable to generate new bones, so the second time around, the lizard is just out of luck. Talk about burnout.

  3. I enjoyed the blog entry. I have often felt similar feelings of fatigue, especially during the winter. A good way for me to get recharged is to take a vacation. A vacation isn’t always feasible but when it is it can do a great of good. You can make them inexpensive too. As you know, there are a lot of places you can visit here in Utah that are spectacular. For instance, you can go to Goblin Valley and ponder on the beauty of God’s creations including the little lizards. They go out every day, find food, regrow tales and recharge in the sun.

  4. I think you have hit upon something that each of us deals with! How do I re-charge? Well, I bought a light bulb that simulates natural light for one. I spent my tax refund on something that was totally a fun-for-me purchase. This year I am doing that “30 goals to do while you are 30” thing that so many others have done. However, my brothers and sisters decided about 10 of the goals for me. It was interesting because there were things that I wouldn’t have done myself. But I have really enjoyed them. (Hula Class, preparing for a 5K, eating a new flavor of Baskin Robin’s Ice Cream each month, etc.) Ironically the goals I set for myself are thigns that are fun. But the goals others set for me are what I really look forward to completing. I’m not sure why. But those goals have helped this year. Maybe others could see what I couldn’t see I needed. Maybe.

  5. Jay, I used to feel like that a lot and sometimes I still do. What I have found helps me a is to plan a day just for me. I set aside the day (or half a day) and plan to just do things for myself, to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, to go buy that thing I really need/want, to go for a drive, or treat myself to a movie. I vow not to think about work or anything that is stressing me out for the whole day, but to focus on just relaxing and having fun that is outside of the usual. It’s great because it gives me something to look forward to and work hard for, but then it totally regenerates me. Anyway, this is my way of refueling, you could give it a try though. :) Take care!

  6. I’m trying to think of a good response here, but mostly just wanted to say thanks for all the good ideas. I have great friends! I’ll definitely let you know if I have some brilliant ideas, too.

    I was a bit disappointed that no one compared themselves to an animal, though ;)

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