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When Everything Is Just a Bit Harder, Exhaustion Is Inevitable

·410 words·2 mins

“This is such a weird time,” I write to a friend.

It’s at least the sixth time I’ve written that — or something like it — to a friend today. Everyone’s struggles are a little different. And some of the folks I know that are struggling would insist they’re not, insisting that they’re good at coping, they don’t mind coping, everything is fine, don’t worry about them… But I can see the telltale signs that conflict with their insistence that everything is fine.

Basically, everyone I know is struggling quite a bit. The way that each person struggles is different. As are their individual challenges. And their self-stories surrounding whether this weird time we’re all living through is a disaster or an opportunity. Seriously, some people can spin anything in a positive light — whether it’s a form of resilience, fear, or “pick me” behavior I will never know.

Me, I’m working through some health challenges. (Not COVID. Chronic stuff.) And trying to make friends in a new area that I moved to right before the pandemic hit. Continuing to work slowly through grief related to my father passing away last year (that’s been going a lot better lately, and I’m grateful for it). And I have the constant challenge that writers foolishly choose: Wrestling my own minds and emotions so I can be productive and get my work done. My output fluctuates dramatically depending on my mindset and my mood. So you can imagine how hard it’s been to keep writing during the pandemic.

Other folks are doing some of this, too. They’re also hunting for jobs, moving, having existential crises, homeschooling, going through breakups/divorces or healing from nasty ones, and dating.

Every single thing is made weirder by our current times. A little bit harder always to plan and do things responsibly. There are always a couple of extra steps involved. None of the steps are all that difficult in isolation — but when you start stacking them relative to every single task you have to do… well, people are overwhelmed.

People are tired.

“I know it’s a weird time,” my friend says. “I just… can’t help thinking that if I were stronger, if I were more of a badass, then I wouldn’t be so tired.”

“That’s not fair,” I counter.

“You think?”

“I do,” I reply. “It doesn’t take all that much to throw things off course. When everything is just a bit harder, exhaustion is inevitable.”


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