Is it just me? Why am I so tired? Like all the time. Not exhausted, but always some flavor of tired. Physically. Mentally. Across the board tired.
I am getting older. I suppose we all are. There’s probably something to that. We don’t typically get more energetic with age. But I’m generally healthy so I don’t think that’s it.
My wife and I are raising a couple of young children. But we’re getting enough sleep. Really, we are. Raising kids certainly isn’t easy work, but our kids are really pretty great and just aren’t a major contributor to the state I’m in. As far as families go, I am positive I’ve got a low stress, high positive impact one. Moving on.
Work is pretty damn good. My company is doing really well. I enjoy my work and my team. Really nothing to complain about there. It’s not all that stressful. Hell, I know a lot of people out there don’t even have a job or just have to operate in dangerous, stressful environments. That’s not me.
I’m not burned out. I’ve been there before, and this isn’t it. So nothing there either.
Life has certainly happened to us the last couple years. I lost may Dad to cancer. My closest friend lost his father very unexpectedly. We had a baby. I lost my dog, who was a faithful companion for more than 17 years. Certainly some ups and downs there. Maybe some more downs the last couple years if I’m being honest, but this is how life goes sometimes. It’s not a unique cycle and I know that I’ve been here before. But it’s making me more tired this time.
It’s all hitting me differently. It’s all more difficult. And I don’t always realize it.
It’s pretty obvious where this ends up. We’ve been living through this pandemic now for nearly two full years. We’ve been living with this notably high stress baseline for for what, like 18 months now? Of course, there have been some breaks in there and some ups and downs, but really we’ve sort of been activated to some degree for this entire time.
Early on it was easy enough to recognize this level of stress and work within its confines. It wasn’t easy, but it seemed like it was obvious it was there. And that made it easier to deal with. We were all in it together. Doing our best dealing with this common challenge. At some point we crossed a threshold where we stopped really recognizing it. Sure, we all know it’s there, but we started to kind of just live in this state. The elevated baseline, became the baseline. I hate to use the term, but it’s kind of become the new normal. It wasn’t intentional, but here we are.
When something is harder to recognize it’s also more difficult to manage. If I can’t see it, I don’t know how to deal with it. I’ve always felt self-aware and able to manage my stress levels pretty well. I had some tools and I typically knew when and how to use them. I feel like I’ve lost that muscle memory. I’ve been in this always activated state for so long that I don’t really recognize it as a problem when it absolutely still is. So I just hang out in this place.
I have to actively think about it. I have to force myself into introspection mode now. All of this has a weight. And a pretty damn substantial one. One we’ve been carrying for so long now. I’m tired and I don’t think I’m going to feel not tired for a while. But it’s ok. I know I’ll be ok. I know where it’s coming from and I know that I need to remind myself of that fact sometimes. I’m not totally sure how to deal with it right now, but I’m aware and provides me an avenue to try.