I have found myself lately answering “tired” or “exhausted” whenever I’m asked how I am. Understandably, the response I get in turn is concern, or empathy. I’m worrying family members, or irritating others, as if my proclamation of “exhaustion” is inherently a Complaint.
Sure, there is some level of complaint to it, but its not really meant that way overall. Not when I say it.
Being “tired” or “exhausted” are just results. Sure, all emotions are results, but these are results that in themselves aren’t indicative of their cause. It’s not anger, where something had to piss me off, or fear where something scared me. The only thing you can accurately surmise from exhaustion is that something wore me out.
In the last year and a half, I cannot remember too many times in which I didn’t feel tired, but largely that same time period has been undoubtedly the best of my life. Not every day is excellent, but the batting average is way higher than any other time in my life (maybe when I was a baby, I can’t really claim knowledge of that.)
At first, I was exhausted waiting with my wife at the hospital for induction, then exhausted as we stayed up late while she was in the early stages of labor. She likes to joke about how I slept pretty well in the hospital, but really that was only in regards to how well she slept. I remember sitting with my son in the nursery, with him under the heat lamp, holding my finger. I was so tired it felt like I was drunk, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Obviously, the first few months of having a new baby is always exhausting, but it’s so intensely awesome.
So why am I tired lately? I’ve been tired lately, because I’m working a 9-5 job, and then I come home and I edit novels for a second job, I’m constantly writing, and trying to find time for every little project that pops into my brain, and I’m still making sure I find time to hang out with my wife and son. My son is at this incredibly fun stage, and I don’t want to miss any of it, and I don’t want to miss any of these writing and editing opportunities which are the most fun I’ve ever had while working. So sometimes, it means that he’s sitting on my lap watching “Paddington” (or “Pa Da Ta” as he calls it) on one monitor, while I’m reading someone’s manuscript on the other.
I have twenty hours of activity to participate in on almost every day, and I’m squeezing and overlapping, and ultimately, the thing that misses out is sleep. But that’s ok, in fact, I would rather be tired from doing all of these things I love, than be wide awake and bored, or unfulfilled, or unhappy.
Your gas tank is less likely to be empty if you never go anywhere.
So when I respond “tired” or “exhausted” to “how’re you doing” please know that it’s the best possible answer I can give you.