Thursday 25 July 2019

activist burn-out

My Uncle John was born in 1923, when his mother was a tad over 30.  He escaped from Dover briefly during and immediately after WWII but he returned home and joined the family furniture and removals business. His father died when UJ was in his mid 50s and he lived with his widowed mother for the next quarter century. It was an interesting dynamic as they gradually exchanged roles on the domestic housekeeping and minding front. It wasn't until she was over 100 years and had a passing accident with a hot stove that my granny finally hung up her apron and John fully embraced being the God Domestos. For a couple of decades, he didn't feel able to take a holiday that involved leaving his mother alone in the house overnight, which put quite a damper on his gastronomic travels to Boulogne and Calais. The rest of the family recognised a sure case for respite care. If UJ could have a week elsewhere with his golf-clubs, he'd return entertained, rested but also energised for another session of parent-caring. He was just not able to hear that suggestion, and wore himself out over his unshirkable responsibilities. Pancreatic cancer didn't help, it must be said.  You may be sure, as the next generation to step up to the elder-care plate, we are going get the balance right. <not> at best we will just make other mistakes.

In June there was an interesting snippety-doo-dah article in the Grauniad with advice from various activists for how to sustain the caring and politicking and not get totally burnt out. A frazzled husk is absolutely no use to The Cause. The advice can be summarized: yomping; bonking; boxing; ranting; shrinking; weeping; guilting; diversifying;  studying; talking; dogging; cold-showering; tweeting; celebrating; reading; choosing; marching. The best comment included this:
You can't both wring your hands and roll up your sleeves.
True dat!
Post-script: what do young radical women do to stay cool: therapy, weight-lifting, rowing

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