A lot of people write to me and ask about how to manage to cook all their own food if they have so many other things to do. I’ve thought about this really hard because as my regular readers know other than the meals cooked for me by my significant other and close family I do cook everything I eat and like most people I don’t really think about how I do it I just do it. Before I go into this I’m going to go off and talk about something that probably doesn’t seem related but totally is.
This article talks about the spoon theory. The original idea is that when you have lupus you have a certain amount of energy each day and when you run out you can’t do anything anymore.
The author says that normal people have unlimited energy which I disagree with. I believe healthy people have more energy than there are hours in the day which makes it seem like it is unlimited, but really it’s just large enough to cover what needs to be done and then some. It’s only when sick that those energy reserves shrink and a person starts noticing that they don’t have enough energy for what they need to do.
The other day I was watching a show about hoarders and I noticed that every single one of the hoarders who they interviewed had suddenly gotten sick or suffered from a bereavement before their hoarding became so bad. Listening to them and seeing their houses I realized that they had always lived using every last bit of time and energy just to maintain their lives. One had six cats, another worked at a hotel and volunteered as well as doing all sorts of home improvement projects. I realized that if they hadn’t gotten sick they probably could have stayed out of hoarder status but because they used every bit of energy and time to maintain their lives and their stuff, they slipped into hoarding when their energy was impaired by ill health and/or grief. Their problem wasn’t they they were slackers it was that they were overachievers. They had overextended themselves.
It’s sort of like living paycheck to paycheck. Never having more money in the bank than covers basic needs, so if an unexpected expense happens a overdraft appears. To continue the flawed analogy to money, everything that we own requires a certain amount of time and energy to maintain, in fact it’s almost like debit. The more stuff one has the more energy one needs to devote to maintaining it.
I myself have had to be very careful about what I allow to take up my energy on a regular basis because at any time I might get sick. These days I don’t become sick because of oil exposures as often but I do recognize that it could happen and I have to prepare for that. To that end I have a core set of things that I maintain even when sick and everything else is flexible enough that I can usually put it off until I feel better.
Usually the things I have to do even when sick relate to food, cooking, dishes, and shopping. Now that I am a parent that list has expanded to include the things I have to do to maintain my daughters safety and happiness. Everything else related to household and personal maintenance is fairly flexible, although not infinitely avoidable.
Ultimately the answer to how I manage to cook all my own food is by giving up doing a lot of other things. I can let the laundry and the vacuuming slide, I can avoid writing, I can have someone shop for me but cooking safe food is always first and foremost what I prioritize.