A few years ago, I had a coworker who was in his late forties. He had two young children with his (youngish) second wife and three much older children from his first marriage. One of his older daughters had just given birth to his first grandchild. Several members of this extended family were in active addiction and there was lots of drama from all directions.
In the midst of all of this, my coworker struggled to be the voice of reason, running interference, coming to the rescue in any way he could all while attending nursing school and working two demanding part-time jobs. He worked 30 hours or so each week at the halfway house with me and another 20-25 hours a week as a certified nurse's aid for a home health care service.
On Monday nights, we had an hour of quiet time in the staff office while the residents hosted an AA meeting in the dining room. We often spent that hour discussing the latest twist in the lives of his family members.
Sometimes, though, the topic of conversation was limited to the width, breadth, and depth of our respective exhaustion levels. (Mine always felt a little less well-earned than his since it seemed out of proportion with my life's demands and was instead mostly a product of insomnia and excess body weight.) We could talk at great length about the flavors of our fatigue--we were connoisseurs of weariness.
One night, he slumped back in his chair, his arms flopped over the sides and said with a sigh, "I feel like someone has turned gravity way up."
Tonight, I say to whoever keeps messing with the gravity dial: "Hey! Could you please knock it off?"
G is for Gravity
I Am Not a Wimp
4 hours ago