Being Tired is Tiring
It is a feeling of wanting to do nothing but read, eat chocolate, and wander around my yard.
Last night, when I was curled up under the covers at 8:30 p.m., my teenager asked me, “Why are you always tired?”
I said, “I don’t know. Maybe because I’m old?”
Sometimes I feel like I’m a vintage iPhone, the 6 or the 7, and I am out of battery. You know that old iPhone where the battery suddenly plummets from 90 to 20 percent, and you go to Settings and switch it to yellow to conserve, and it drops to one percent anyway? Then, right in the middle of a conversation, the call drops, the screen goes dark, and your phone dies. That’s the kind of out-of-battery feeling I have: unpredictable and even though it looks like I’m charged, I might spontaneously drop at any moment.
I could be sitting in my office typing away on my laptop and suddenly I have to lie down. I need a dark chocolate bar with salted caramel and my Kindle and my gray sheets and my iPhone charger and to get in bed right now.
I could be taking an online tour of some university with my 17-year-old son. We are virtually walking around Johns Hopkins or Colgate University or Wash U in St. Louis and suddenly, my battery dies and I have to rest with two Fig Newtons and a lemon seltzer. Sorry, honey, if there are crumbs in the sheets.
I could be at the vet, sitting in the car with my mask on listening to Adele sing Someone Like You, waiting for my dog who hurt his toenail, and, suddenly —I’m out of juice! — I need a dark-chocolate bar with salted caramel and a nap immediately.
Maybe I do have a dead battery and I can’t charge it because my mom died and she is the only one who knows where the plug is.
She is the only one who can make me feel energized or awake or happy and she is gone and I will never see her again. As I type this, I remind myself this is true. I can visit the Apple store or go to apple.com and get the new iPhone eleven with the fastest chip ever and the all-day battery life, and I will still be tired and feel tired and feel like a dead battery because I have a dead mom and that drains me.
I wish someone had jumper cables long enough to reach around my head and my feet and my car and my aorta and pump some electricity into me or jumpstart me or give me a shock to the system and get me running again.
I will be in the kitchen in the middle of making teriyaki salmon and brussel sprouts in salt and olive oil, and suddenly, that’s it, I’m on empty. I have to lie down and take a nap and then have a double cappuccino if I am going to make it through dinner and a Shark Tank episode with my son.
Being tired is tiring. It is a feeling of wanting to do nothing but read and eat chocolate and wander around my yard looking for something but I don’t know what I am looking for.
I could be looking for mosquitos or pieces of water balloons left in the grass or brown leaves to pull off the plants or dusty shoes that someone left by the outdoor couch. I could be looking for solace, or a happy, smiley face someone drew on a piece of paper and left on a chair, or maybe a crow or a woodpecker or a hummingbird or some kind of flying sign that everything will be okay, that I will be okay, that one day my battery will be charged again and I can feel the opposite of tired?
What is the opposite of tired? Energetic? Awake? Lively? I guess the opposite of tired could be wakeful. That’s how I want to feel: awake and alive and charged up. For now, I’ve switched the battery to Low Power Mode. I’ve reduced activity. I’ve stopped downloads. For now, I’ve got my chocolate and my bed and my wine and my work and my writing and my students and my family. For now, I am plugged in and waiting. It takes time to fully recharge.