For me, for anybody I assume, if you are doing something you just love beyond comprehension then exhaustion doesn’t catch up to you. I can run a political campaign sixteen hours a day for weeks on end and fall in to bed at night exhausted but HAPPY to be exhausted. I can take both kids on the train to breakfast and then church on Sundays and then drop them back home and then turn right around and head to hang out with my fabulous queers and talk politics and religion and everything in the world and hop on my bike to go help run some volunteer project and then maybe get a late night coffee with a friend before heading home, 14 hours after I left that morning. That’s the exhaustion of love. The exhaustion that you are thrilled to have because the stuff that caused it is beautiful and affirming and you WANT it. All of it.
This is not that exhaustion. This is the exhaustion of never being home, never having a minute to rest, and still not really accomplishing anything. It is the exhaustion where I get to the train that morning and don’t quite remember actually waking up or getting ready. This is the exhaustion of monotony and of not moving forward in life. The exhaustion of spending most of my time not doing anything to make the world better. This is just plain old exhaustion.
I don’t like my job. I work at a coffee shop, and I’m not particularly friends with most of the folks there. A few I actively do not like; they are rude to me, make fun of me, etc. It’s not something I look forward to showing up for on a daily basis. It is very much a “filler” job – something to do until I have something better to do. This is what runs through my head every time I show up for work and every time I leave work and most of the time during work.
And then? Then comes the guilt.
I should be happy to have a job when so many don’t. I should be happy that I will have somewhere warm and safe to call home this winter because last year I didn’t. I should be happy about so many things and I’m not. I complain.
I haven’t been anywhere not accessible by Boston public transportation since I went to General Assembly in June and prior to June it was a day trip in April. And I know that millions of Americans never go on vacation and I’ve read the same stories you have about kids in Los Angeles who live within miles of the beach and have never seen it.
I know I shouldn’t complain. I should be out there, being the change I wish to see in my own life. I’m trying but the exhaustion catches up with me. The exhaustion of everything I am doing and everything I am not doing and everything I wish I was doing but can’t find time for.
This is not simply exhaustion that sleep can repair. My mental self is tired. My mental self craves change and engagement and excitement and movement. I’m getting none of that right now and I need to make that not the case.
Next question is, “how?”