Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yawnnn, revisited

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the fact that everyone I know is exhausted. I spoke with a few friends about this and here’s the recap:

From Dani, who maintains a fiendishly tough training regimen and has among the cleanest diet of anyone I know. We have to be constantly on. With IM, email, texts, tweets and all the other methods of instant communications, there’s not a moment’s rest. Also, our food is processed and loaded with sugar, which really is a poison.

From Iben, who works for an environmental NGO. We are never satisfied with what we have and are always yearning for more. Our egos are out of control and living in a constant state of want is exhausting.

From Lisa, a special ed teacher. We are actually working harder than ever. People routinely skip lunch, work after hours or come in on weekends. Since there is no job security anymore, an average worker will put in longer, unpaid hours just to stay employed.

From Terry, who spends most of his days on the road. People drive more then ever and with increased traffic and increased speeds, we have to be more aware. That’s tiring. Also, he adds without a smirk, there are now tens of thousands of Asian women drivers putting the lives of other drivers at risk.  Watching out for them and avoiding their onslaught is in and of itself exhausting.

Speaking with more friends, I got these thoughts:

From Jacob, trainer. We’re completely out of equilibrium. Most of us are dreadfully out of shape; our diet sucks; the air we breathe and the water we drink are full of harmful chemicals.  We fail to establish a good balance among the elements that make us who we are—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and trying to wrestle with this imbalance is exhausting.

From Nancy, web designer. Part of the problem, I think, is that the professional turf we protect to maintain our lifestyle is getting ever smaller, more specialized and complex. We struggle to keep up with the latest developments in our dedicated fields and it’s almost impossible to be on top of things. Too much info, too fast. We can’t keep up.

From Thomas, whose father worked for 43 years for the same company. Thomas,37, is on his fifth job in seven years. The work environment has changed drastically since I got my first post-college job when I was 24. There’s no sense of loyalty on either the workforce or management side. People get let go with a week’s notice, or leave with a week’s notice. There’s no sense of employment safety anymore, and while some people may find that challenging, I’m pretty sure most of us aren’t very comfortable in that kind of environment. I don’t like waking up thinking today may be the last day at the job I’m doing. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.

From Paul, playwright. Fear. It controls our lives. We live in a constant state of being afraid of almost everything—finances, relationships, work, the environment, you name it, we’re afraid of it. Fear is tiring, it’s not an emotional state that can be maintained for long periods without doing us serious harm.

This last theory appeals to me. We’re in fear of tomorrow, of losing the stuff we have and the stuff we don’t even have yet. We fear for the future. Fear is grueling, strenuous, fatiguing.

Now here’s what I find interesting. Even as we stumble around in a state of near-exhaustion, we’re living longer than ever before.  Advances in the medical arts keep us above ground for ever-more years, but is it worth it? What’s the point of chugging down energy drinks if it is simply to exist and not truly enjoy our lives?

I’m thinking of writing a magazine article on the subject. Have any thoughts? Share them here. Thanks.


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