On Exhaustion

From the random thoughts pile: If energy is neither created nor lost, but simply transformed from one state to another, what does it take to transform enough energy from the nebulous ‘other states’ to fuel a person through a full work week such that the entirety of the weekend isn’t lost to ‘battery recharging’?

Friends, I’m tired. Seems like I get enough sleep – about 6.5 to 7 hours each night. I certainly get enough to eat and it’s mostly good, nourishing, and prepared by the hands of others. I even get leisure time to read or watch tv from time to time. But at the end of every 55-60 (average) hour work week, all I seem to be able to do is sleep in and be lazy.

Of course, the knee-jerk response I get when musing on this aloud among friends or family, is: you’re getting old, just accept it.

I reject that premise. Age doesn’t scare me and I’m not ashamed of my age. I don’t feel old or world-weary. I feel tired, not old or past usefulness. Tired, as in if I sit still for too long I fall asleep, kind of tired. As in, I seem to yawn my head off constantly, kind of tired.

But I don’t have a physically demanding job to explain the exhaustion. I use my brain, not my back, as my grandmother used to exhort me to do. I just don’t understand how thinking and reasoning and arguing positions and negotiating outcomes, all in the comfort of a climate-controlled, well appointed office can induce such deep and lasting exhaustion.

Feels bad to be this tired and not be able to explain it. Especially when others close to me do work physically and for similarly long hours. I know, intellectually, that comparison of such disparate jobs is invalid. But I can’t help thinking that exhaustion from physical work is earned, whereas intellectual labor should be invigorating rather than draining.

I still love my job, though. It’s gratifying to achieve goals and help a good company grow. It’s a blessing for which I’m thankful. I just wish I understood why it makes me so tired.

2 comments so far

  1. Widdershins on

    Your body may not be working at a physical job but your brain sure is, so maybe cut it some slack.

    If you worked 60 (average) hours at a physically demanding job and felt this tired you wouldn’t even question why.

    And what would you do to remedy this situation if you were working a physical job and felt this tired? Think about it, what would you change so your body could rest? maybe consider doing the same (or similar) things so your brain can rest too … and yes part of it is age. Not the kind of ‘age’ you defined in your post but the acknowledgement that you have seen ‘X’ amount of sunrises and sunsets and there is great worth as well as cost to having lived each and every one of those days.

    As a culture we still value ‘work’ according to an agricultural ‘sweat of the brow’ mentality (and more specifically the sweat of the young male brow) that went extinct about a hundred years ago … which sucks, but no-one ever said humans were the brightest bunch in the galaxy … so even though intellectually we know better, we still judge ourselves according to that criteria.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Thanks, friend, I guess I needed to hear that. And…thank goodness I’m not working 60 hours a week at a physical job, cuz I’d be fired so fast! The other half of my granny’s exhortation to work with my brain went something like “because, child, you’ll never make it as a laborer”. I think she might have been impugning my prowess! But she was right. 😉

      I agree about the antiquated notion of value in male sweat equity. All the female sweat equity given over the eons seems to have been discounted to nearly nothing.

      I’ll give the “what would you do” question some thought.

      Thanks again. 👊🏻


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