I’m tired today. I couldn’t fall asleep last night until long after midnight and hearing my alarm going off at 6:50 am was physically painful. So, I’m tired. Nothing unusual or interesting about that. I imagine I’m actually better rested than 100% of parents out there, or teachers, or air traffic controllers, or really anyone who works a full time job or takes care of other humans or both. I’m not complaining about my life. Let me be clear about that. I’m not saying that I’m more tired than the millions of people who got up this morning and went to work because that’s what they have to do if they want to have food to eat or a place to live, or if they want the people who depend on them to live. I’m tired today, that’s all.
My dad often says, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”. I’m not sure whose quote that is. I imagine it being Winston Churchill, but I don’t know for sure. There is wisdom in those words. Almost everyone I know seems to be tired more often than not. Arianna Huffington retired from running the Huffington Post to focus entirely on her research and writing about sleep and how terribly modern humans are at getting enough of it. In certain lines of work or social circles, talking about how little you sleep is a boast, a way of declaring that you are so important and necessary to the people around you that you have no time for the luxury of rest.
The fact that so many humans, at this very moment, feel exhausted, doesn’t make fatigue any less real. In the psych hospital, I was taught a useful mnemonic for checking myself on meeting basic needs. The word is “halt”. It works as an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, or you find yourself having a meltdown and you’re not entirely sure why, the first thing you’re supposed to do is go through that list and see if any of those words apply. Like those Snicker’s ads where the pretty girl turns into Joe Pesci because, “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry”, these four states are all powerful enough to mess with your entire mind/body system. The advice from the psych hospital folks is to run through that list and address those four needs as soon as possible. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but the exercise is still one I find helpful, if only to help myself see that emotions are often connected to physical needs. That shouldn’t be an excuse for taking your emotions out on others, but it gives your bodily needs the respect they require.
(what? what does that mean?)
Like I said, I’m tired. My body and my brain are tired and I don’t want to write anymore. I didn’t want to write this at all. In fact, I was seriously wishing I hadn’t started this whole dumb “write every day until September” thing, because here I am on day 3 and it feels like a dumb, pointless chore. But, and this is the thing that matters, I did it anyway. I don’t feel any better right now. I’m still really tired and my head hurts and I want to go lie down for a while, but feeling better right now isn’t the point. The point is that I did a thing for no other reason than because I said I would do it. Maybe for you, whoever you are, that’s not a difficult thing. (Who are you, anyway? How on earth did you find this and read this far? Thank you, by the way. Seriously. I appreciate it.) For me, it’s a very difficult thing. I’ll probably talk more about that some other time. Point is, I win.
(oh my gosh, this post really dissolved into nonsense, didn’t it?)
We have survived another day. Give yourself a pat on the back. I’m going to take a nap.