Last week I spent some time away from keyboard (AFK), which for me includes being away from work. Thursday was the longest day of his and about 2/3 through it I found myself lying on a bench at my mother in law’s house telling her and my wife,
“I never feel this tired after a full day of work.”
A lot of that has to do with just how much I love my job. In past jobs that I didn’t enjoy, a full day’s work would leave me not only that tired, but also filled with stress and angst. Mostly at myself for not finding work that actually suited me.
Now I’m at the point where work is a part of my cycle of feeling energized and refreshed. A full work day leaves me feeling accomplished and knowing I impacted the world in a small way, and several individuals in a big way. A full work day might in fact leave me tired, but it’s a strong finish to an important effort, the muscles begging to be stretched after a run.
That fatigue I felt on Thursday wasn’t from the pain of labor, or the frustration that comes with making art. It’s an existential drain. It’s the part of your lizard brain that says, “you don’t really want to bother with this so I’ll just make you lay down and sleep through it.” Things like driving in commuter traffic in the rain are problems I’ve so successfully avoided the past year that on these rare days I face them, I’m not very tenacious anymore. Instead I lay down and hate myself.
But those days still have their purpose. Work/Life balance isn’t always about taking vacation or sleeping in, it can also mean gettings those errands done that are best not put-off. Taking responsibility for things you don’t care about but would hate to have taken away. Making the little efforts around the house that your next-week’s self will thank you for. These are not bad things.
And when they make you tired, it’s okay. Make great art as soon as you can after it, and you’ll feel much better.