Does today’s boost = tomorrow’s drain?

As I’ve been going through the process of relocating this past week or so, I’ve noticed that my coffee intake has risen a bit, as I cope with higher-than-usual demands on my energy reserves.  Packing, unpacking, schlepping stuff (some of it fairly heavy…) up and down stairs and in and out of rooms and even buildings, fighting traffic between the old and new homes, updating contact info with approximately a thousand different vendors, battling the stress attendant to all of this…these things demand energy, and plenty of it.  I’m sleeping even harder than I usually do, I’m slower to rise up from that intense slumber, and to compensate for all of this, I’ve been upping my caffeine levels.  Not an ideal solution, but I don’t intend for it to be a long-term thing, and as I get past the initial move-in phases and get more settled at my new digs, I’ll ratchet the java-gulping back down to my more traditional levels and then stay there…

My current levels of coffee intake require a contraption of this order (which gizmo kind of resembles what might result if C-3PO and R2-D2 were fused together and then repurposed as an espresso machine...).
My current levels of coffee intake require a contraption of this order (which gizmo kind of resembles what might result if C-3PO and R2-D2 were fused together and then repurposed as an espresso machine…).

But while getting into my second cup this morning, I was reminded of a thought I’ve had before, and which I figured might be worth sharing here:

When we use some means to artificially jack up our energy levels — be it caffeine in whatever form, amphetamines or other drugs that serve as uppers, or even more natural substances such as ginseng — are we possibly borrowing or stealing energy from future, yet-to-be versions of ourselves that they would have otherwise had at their disposal, but now…won’t…?  Are we robbing every tomorrow’s iteration of ourselves…so that we can feel more awake and aware today?

I sometimes have this vision of each of us as a pure spirit-form in some vague, cloud-saturated realm, pre-birth…  We arrive before some Officiating Presence that’s holding a grand, celestial clipboard and some dice, and this Presence then, like a moderator or “dungeon-master” in a role-playing game, generates numbers randomly for us, thus determining what our attributes and experiences will be in this life before we actually touch down on Earth.  The Presence then records the resulting numbers on that clipboard, and then shoos us off to commence with our new “Earth-walk,” as I’ve heard these lives of ours called.

"Ah, so it looks like you'll only get to have sex a grand total of 17 times in your upcoming life, but on the plus side, you will visit no less than 38 separate nations, and you'll amass a personal fortune of $212 million dollars, so..."
“Ah, so it looks like you’ll only get to have sex a grand total of 17 times in your upcoming life, but on the plus side, you will visit no less than 38 separate nations, and you’ll amass a personal fortune of $212 million dollars, so…”

So my thought is: what if we’re allotted some ultimately finite amount of “energy points” for use in this lifetime, and whenever we imbibe some substance or other to boost our present levels of pep, we’re swiping points from that grand total?  Wouldn’t that mean that we’d basically be hastening our own demise every time we take a swig of a caffeinated beverage?  Not to mention what we’d be doing to ourselves if we decided to make a sort of career out of hitting the crack-pipe…

Maybe things don’t work in that way.  Maybe there are no hard and fast “allotments” of anything for us, and amping up our energy levels via artificial means produces only a temporary imbalance that can be brought back in line through simply sleeping more than usual after the artificially-induced energy-spike has passed…

Maybe this is all we ever need following a self-induced energy-spike in order to bring ourselves back into balance...maybe...
Maybe this is all we ever need following a self-induced energy-spike in order to bring ourselves back into balance…maybe…

But I find myself seeming to believe that the truth may be sort of somewhere in the middle of those two possibilities: not every single drop of caffeine irrevocably steals away future vitality and life-force — we can recover from such artificial lifts just through rest — but such bumps of energy also never add up to no future deficits, either.  I guess that after pondering about this out loud here, my take is that single or even regular but low-level incidences of such boosts don’t really enervate our poor future selves…but large-scale, ongoing practices of bumping our energy levels upward do.  No one will argue that making a steady diet of crystal meth won’t harm you…but I think most people would put that down to physical and immediate factors: it’s essentially poison, for crying out loud!  But I’d honestly add in the more metaphysical factor I was discussing above: chewing up that much energy and “up”-ness that you wouldn’t have otherwise had, is, in my view, stealing it from the you that’s waiting up ahead to step out onto the stage of the world in one of your tomorrows.

So as I push away my third — and final!! — cup of coffee for the day here, I’m resolving to cut back again to a more modest level of intake…and if I need to be extra-tired for a little while, and I have to stay in bed just a bit more than usual before I normalize again, then that’s okay, as I’m now sleeping in a much finer place than I had been before! And I know my future self will thank me…


  1. We are limitless abundant life force. Take it easy on the java. Know what’s really funny….Swear…I was going to blog about coffee today. I didn’t have any yesterday and I was so happy to have it this morning, that I was going to praise it in blogdom!

    • Great palates, thinking alike…;)

      Please do post away about coffee — there’s room enough in the blogosphere for both of us to be extolling its many virtues, that’s for sure! And thanks for the support — I’m happy to report that I steered clear of that worrisome third cup this morning, which for me is always the edge of that slippery slope downward into jittery dependence. I think just posting about the issue helped me to get it in check, actually…

  2. You are so right about caffeine stealing from our future energies. My mother drank 20 cups a day (strong coffee) and it stole 30 or 40 years from her life – she died at 56. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said coffee killed her. I was so frightened that at 27 I cut from 10 cups to 5 cups. Then when I was 38 I cut it out altogether. In years of research, I’ve come to the conclusions you gave. Yet, for various reasons, in the last 5 years I had picked up the habit again, but am gearing up to drop it altogether – I’m 68 and not getting younger and I noticed my energy decreasing significantly (even with the coffee). Keep up the good work – keep blogging.

    • Thanks for sharing here, Marion. I’m so sorry to hear about the experiences that you and your mom had with caffeine. It’s great that you were able to cut it out for so long. Good luck with scaling back down again, too! You have my best wishes on that endeavor. Your comments and encouragement here are much appreciated!

      • Thanks for your reply back. I actually have lived 26 years longer than expected. A years long, low grade undetected infection I had in my childhood, caught up with me when I turned 38 and would have cut me down in my prime (I was very athletic, and looked better than I had ever looked in my life).

        If it weren’t for my diligence in what I chose to eat as a child and onto adult years, it would have caught up with me sooner (I should have never made it out of childhood). Nevertheless, when it did ravage my body, the only thing that saved me was a radical vegan diet. It took only 3 months, but it wiped out all symptoms.

        However, it hit again, later on. It has crippled me and I struggle with it today. Yet all through this, I still was able to work for the majority of my life. Today, I am active in missionary work for the blind.

        Sorry this is such a long reply, but I thought it important to state that we can have more control over our bodies, than what “health professionals” tell us. (My doctors have all been amazed, because all my internal organs appear to be in great shape – though they say that I should be bed-ridden, or at least in a wheel-chair by now!) Happy blogging, my friend 😀

      • Incredible tale, Marion — very inspiring! Best of luck to you in knocking back this affliction of yours yet again. I wish you well in the fight, and I’ll certainly keep blogging away on my end! In light of your story, it seems like that’s the least I can do…

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