Why I Describe My Energy Reserves in Terms of Cash Rather Than Spoons


Soup. Cereal. Yogurt.

These are the main reasons the general population cares about spoons. Your average person does not equate a spoon to anything of value more than just that – a simple, handheld tool.

So when my health and energy is compared to “spoons,” I find myself annoyed. My situation is far more important than the single most stubborn-to-get-clean item in my dishwasher. Why not compare to chopsticks? At least those take some mastery to use.

I find that to explain to a chronically healthy person what it’s like to live with a debilitating condition like mine (multiple sclerosis), I have to use a measure that matters.

“I only have five spoons today,” isn’t going to cut it to the nosy guy at the gas station who wonders why I “get” to park in a disability spot. (Why I care is an article for another time.)

Instead, I like to use a measure that everyone knows, can equate to, and relate to.

Cold hard cash.

Let’s talk budget. You wake up in the morning. You’ve got $10 to your name. You need to pay for gas, groceries and laundry today. That’s going to be really damn hard to do on that cash budget of 10 bucks.

It’s the same with energy.

I may wake up in the morning with a $10 budget and need to get to an out-of-town doctor appointment, file some new insurance paperwork and take the cat to the vet. Plus the everyday shower, dress, feed myself something besides a banana and navigate the world. Something has to give. I’m going to have to re-budget.

Other days there might be more money in my wallet. Though, some days I even wake up in debt, and I can’t go anywhere or spend anything.

Cash is value. Dollars matter. We all know we need a balanced checkbook to live a comfortable life. You can live suitably without a spoon. After all, there’s always a spork. It’s hard to live when there’s never quite enough to make all the ends meet, though.

It is the same with health. I need to balance and manage my budget on a daily basis. The only difference is, the chronically ill don’t get much of a savings account, if any at all. We can’t go into the bank for a loan. We can rest before a big event or an outing or a stressful appointment in an attempt to hold our account on the plus side, but it’s no guarantee of the fallout after.

So keep your spoons, I’ve got a budget to balance.

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