Charge it!

The recent cold snap has put a steady drain people, places, and things. People expended energy staying warm and removing snow. Snow removal budgets took a moderate hit with the ice and snow events last week. Vehicles bore the brunt of collisions and dead batteries. Dead batteries and car repairs added to the season’s financial drain. The longer nights make many people sluggish.

Cold weather also seems to put a charge in combs and doorknobs. Removing a sweater in a dark room results in a brief fireworks show. Sliding headlong into a solid object creates another fireworks display. Shaking hands can almost knock both people across the room. I remember one time I kissed Lucy without touching a metal object first. Her yelp of pain ensured I dissipated the static charge before touching her after that.

Car batteries come in a multitude of sizes and capacities. Cold weather reduces the effective capacity of a battery along with thickening up lubricants. I am trying to replace the battery in my car and am having difficulty finding a replacement, which no doubt adds to replacement cost. Even though the car is only five years old with very low mileage, it has a puny factory battery with a three-year lifetime. Another round of sub-zero weather may head my way for the holidays and I’d rather not hook up jumper cables in “can’t feel my face after ten seconds” weather.

Like a car battery, people also need recharging. Many of us build our lives on a “three-legged stool” of career, finances, and family (which can mean close friends in the case of a single person). If any one of these three areas is missing or out of balance, we experience heightened stress. Stress is physically and mentally draining. Careers are fickle especially in an impaired economy and are usually well outside our control. Finances are easier to manage but are subject to unforeseen events. Some families are dysfunctional or are emotionally distant. In a balanced life, we can recharge from each of the three areas although not at equal percentages. Some people have more stability in their careers and will draw most of their recharge from that. Others are financial wizards that can squeeze the optimal value from a dollar. Most of us have strong and supportive families.

How to recharge may change with age. For example, I was more career driven in my early 20’s, finance driven in my late 20’s, and family driven starting in my 30’s after I married Lucy. The important thing is figuring out how and when to recharge.

The holiday season is usually filled with hustle and bustle. Holidays affect work deadlines with increased workloads, decreased numbers of people in the office, or both. Work can also affect family gatherings if someone cannot get time off to make a trip. Shopping affects finances and free time. Planning family gatherings and outings sometimes seems like herding amphetamine abusing cats.  We try to make the most of our situations and get the maximum amount of happiness we can get.

Take time to recharge and enjoy some time with people who care about you. It will help to recharge you. Don’t use a credit card if it is whimpering, skulking, or smoldering from the last shopping excursion. Remember your priorities and from where you draw your strength. Give your special someone a meaningful hug, but please touch a metal object first!

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