Together, Again

Good times we’ll share again, but until then we’re so tired (oh so tired)

I am so tired.

I could say that and just end the column. It could be my most relatable column, ever

Because I know I’m not alone. I see my husband up close. Starting work whenever his colleagues schedule meetings, sometimes as early as 6 in the morning, sometimes as late at 9 at night. Oftentimes, sitting in the same chair with the stupid camera on for like 14 hours a day. I see that he is lucky if he takes as much as a 15-minute break to gobble down some lunch. He is always on call. I see my best friend work until 11:00 pm every night for days on end, because there’s a big reorg going on and she’s the kind of exec that will always be there for her boss. While her exec peers keep telling her “it’s gonna be okay”, they’ve not yet let her in on what her future job is. A former colleague wrote me and said she’s quitting her job because she’s so fully burnt out and there is no way she can keep working what is effectively a 24×7 workweek. Quitting was the only option she said.

It was either that or personally lose her shit.  

It reminds me of how journalist Stacy-Marie Ishmael quit her role in Texas, followed this week by Megan Greenwald of Wired, openly announcing they were leaving because they had hit their own walls. Not because they don’t vitally need a healthcare plan during a once-in-a-100 year- pandemic, but b/c working 80+ hours a week creates the kind of chronic health conditions that go beyond “healthcare”.  

And, then, Paul (this column’s EIC) wrote me about the break of our @work column. 

I have missed @work, but I’ve also been way less stressed and doing other things in my life better — and I can’t ignore that, because I do feel like I was at a crash point, with too many plates in the air, so inevitably something or other would crash, and I would pick up the mess as best I could, and go back to spinning plates (not a perfect analogy). I STILL feel maxed out right now, so I’m struggling when we think about how to “add-back” the @work stuff I haven’t been doing or thinking about these past few weeks. 

I get it, I wrote back. I felt the reprieve useful, too.  

Because I could do a last-minute college tour to help my 17-yo to look at his potential choices and see if any of them made sense; something no one ever did for me nor could have, really. 

And, I could start to flesh out a vision for what might be possible next, given that the 18-year-old contract I signed to “raise this child” is up for renegotiation in August. 

For three short weeks, I had one less thing to do, one less deadline to worry about. One less obligation.

But you know what else is true? I missed it. I missed you. That too tells me something. About what renews the energy, too. 


There are no easy answers to this tiredness. But, as we said from the very beginning, this column was not about espousing answers, but about figuring stuff out together

First by naming “here” correctly. Then figuring out what “there” might be. And then figuring the way we get from “here” to “there”. 

And, let me start by asking about “here”.

What is “this” tired about? 

It’s more than ennui, a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction. From being separated from one another for over a year. It’s more what Alex Krasne shared with me: weltschmerz, which translates to “world-weariness” or “world pain” (welt meaning world, schmerz meaning pain). The phrase has its roots in the 1830s. It was first coined by German writer Jean Paul, who used it to describe Lord Byron’s discontent in the novel Selina, and it signifies a sadness about life. “Weltschmerz is the sense both that one is personally inadequate and that one’s personal inadequacy reflects the inadequacy of the world generally.”  

That feels oh-so-close. 

Tired not because of personal decisions. But how this place is hard to be in; unlivable for some. 

Some of us are working because it helps us feel like we’re doing something, anything. Some of us are working so hard to prove that we can add some value. Some of us are working out of fear of losing our jobs. (And let us not forget how some of us are not able to work, which is its own type of tired). 

Yet, we all know this is untenable; We have all hit a wall

Next, how does this change, improve?

Not just so we’re not so tired, but so we’re fully alive. 

Comments are open to all, let’s chat. 

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