I was having a midday coffee break with a girlfriend the other day. We both work full-time, are taking two Masters level courses this term and are trying to also be (somewhat) present for all other areas of our lives.
As we sat there, for our weekly, rushed, coffee catch up, between work and school, we seemed like deflated versions of ourselves. Our conversation was weak and the comfort of being with someone you are not worried about judging you was strong, so we let our weakness slide out into the open.
We were burnt out.
“I am just exhausted,” I whispered to Lisa softly, as the clattering of fingers on keyboards around us kept our conversation between the two of us.
“I do not even know why we keep doing this to ourselves, again and again. We are some strong suckers for punishment,” I murmured as I clicked open my plastic coffee cover.
Lisa clicked her phone screen off and looked in my direction. Her pretty rosy cheeks, well done hair and appropriately applied makeup would make anyone question that even one single thing was wrong with this woman’s life, but it was. “I don’t even have the words to complain,” she said softly, while looking around.
Being a student can be an extremely isolating experience. You spend all day, surrounded by thousands of other people on a vast campus, but you are also so alone.
“I would never say this to anyone else,” I whispered, like I was providing her with the secret ingredient to the elixir of life. “I just wish someone else was in charge of my life. I am sick and tired of making all of the decisions.”
Lisa laughed softly and blew at her chai tea, while shaking her head with a silent understanding of what I was saying. I continued, “I just want a dad figure or someone. Someone to balance the budgets, tell me ‘no,’ when I need to hear and decide what is for damn dinner without giving me a play-by-play of all the potential dinner options.
I leaned back, trying to ignore the back spasm the plastic chair was giving me and imagined this wonderful world. This world where I would always have the time to look great, my meals for dinner would be superb and not cheap Chinese takeout and I would be a yoga instructor for a living.
Oh…..this world is a magical place; a place where the mortgage gets paid, and I do not even know how to sign into online banking, a place where groceries get replenished without a pile of post-it reminders from me smeared all over the condo, a place where the laundry makes it to the hamper, staff do not need a babysitter to do their jobs and all business casual clothes are naturally wrinkled free, with stretchy waistbands.
When did I become this hapless damsel in distress?
All my life, I have run from being taken care of, but when I am at my most hopeless, tired or stressed, my biggest wish is to hand over the reigns to someone else.
When desperate times arrive, I fling myself into a world of self despair and admit defeat. I always get up, eventually, but it is exhausting.
Who knew that being an adult would be so bloody exhausting?
I sure as hell did not, but that is life; you live, you learn and then, eventually, you die, regardless of whether or not you improved throughout the journey.
I have been working at stopping this ‘woe is me’ attitude in my life.
I have put a quote on my phone, I am not sure if I made it up or stole it, but it says: It’s easy, if you say it is, your reality is your belief.
Will it work? I am not sure, I am on day two of reading this quote, literally every time I turn on my phone, so a lot. I want to start taking charge of my day, time and life. I do, for the most part, have a great control of my life, but there are those insidious times, which creep into all of our paths, which bring us down, to our very core being.
The things which make you want to (or actually) curl up in bed, for days, eat nothing but junk and ignore every responsibility, fire and emergency in your life. This happens to me in cycles; in thirty day periods. Out of a month, I am great and in love with myself for ninety percent of it, but then there is the dreaded ten percent, where I have to rebuild myself back up and it sucks.
“Maybe this is my life Lisa,” I sighed, accepting this bullshit existence and constant exhaustion as my truest life companions, “Maybe I just will never well be bloody satisfied with once ounce of my life.”
“Maybe,” she said lightly, flashing her smiling blue eyes my way, “Maybe this is your Achilles heel or maybe this random monthly cycle of your life is your greatest strength of all.”
“Bitch please don’t try and flatter me,” I smirked, as I sipped away at my coffee. “My life is like this coffee Lisa,” I said, holding my paper cup up high, “it is burnt, slightly acidic, old, but it will do the job.”
Lisa started laughing, as the students around us looked up, presuming I was about to launch into some sort of speech, with my coffee cup held in a toasting stance.
“No psycho,” she explained, “What I mean is that most people are pretty okay with being pretty okay, but you are not. You are constantly trying to figure out a way to improve or better yourself and that’s a strength. You never just sit back and say, ‘That’s it, I’ve done enough,’ but millions of people do that each day.
Are we tired?
Are we grumpy?
Are there not enough chips in the world to stress eat away our anxiety?
True, but we will not give up!”
“Okay, okay,” I answered, laughing and holding my hands up in defeat, “I hear you. No throwing in the towel, or at least not yet today.”
“Exactly,” Lisa said, as she smiled over her victory, “Just not today.”