AK explained this concept to me last night, so I might well do to explain it briefly for you all.
Apparently the finns have a notion, and a phrase, for when you try and stuff yourself full of something before you have to go without for a while.
They call it, with regard to cigarettes, smoking for storage.
It’s basically preparation for the lean times. Getting ready to hibernate. Fattening up for the slaughter.
Not quite. Not the last at any rate.
But there is biblical precendent. So let us know if you dream of seven fat cows turning into seven skinny cows, because it may be of import.
Anyway, in humans, and definitely for me, I don’t think it works that well.
At best you can induce a state of nausea that will make you abstain for a minute. Fill yourself up enough that you can’t imagine doing something again, but the brain’s chemicals will kick in before long. And being nauseous isn’t the most enjoyable way to spend your time, even if it does mean you don’t have to duck out for a cheeky cigarette quite so quickly.
Sleep is a different one, or a difficult one.
For me, I can only sleep at the times I can sleep. I have lots of trouble. I can’t do it in the day, and if i sleep too long then I normally wake up tired. I can’t get to bed before my body is ready for it, and I wake up when I’m told to. Either by alarms or sunlight or builders or occasionally my natural hormone cycle.
I think really life is more about rhythm.
And it needs to be fluid, like water.
With a river, you can build a damn, and store up the water, but when the damn bursts (and in the grand geological scheme of things, it certainly will) you get a powerful torrent. A catastrophic explosion of liquid. Even before the damn bursts, the trickle that gets through (intentionally) does so at high pressure.
This is what storage is like in the body. You end up increasing the need in the long run, and increase the likelihood of stress in the mean time.
At least that’s how I see it.
Ideally we should go for rhythms. Find a natural state for your body to cycle with, and try not to mess it about too much. You can toay a little, but I don’t recommend hibernation for humans, even if it does sound appealing when the winter starts drawing in.
But this is all theory. Me, I tend to eat until I’m nauseous with contentment. I tend to smoke impulsively, erratically, and clearly more than I should.
And my sleep is a patchy ragtag mess. Never quite enough, a messy tumble of dreams, sweat and wrestling with bedsheets.
But that’s life.
You can’t always play it the way you want to.
And you can’t store it up for later.
Don’t bother living to storage.
Illustration by Anna-Kaisa.