I forgot to mention that one of the side effects of doing hard things is that you just end up being a little weary. All. the. time.
“Tired” doesn’t quite cover it. “Sleepy” or “Exhausted” is definitely a factor, but this is something that pervades and persists even when you get a solid 7-8 hours.
Weary is the word used to describe travelers.
It conjures up pictures of that mom who is standing at the gate in the airport waiting on a twice-delayed flight while her kids run circles around her and she endures disapproving glances from judgmental strangers.
Maybe you think of Virgin Mary, riding up top that dusty donkey while 38 weeks pregnant, ready to pop, and wondering if Bethlehem has pickles and ice cream. (Who cares about room at the Inn, #amiright?)
I picture piling out of the car at a gas station after 6 hours in the car with my son while he blearily stumbles around looking for something that constitutes a meal. Somehow we’ve spent 20 minutes in a gas station the size of our living room because no one has the brain cells left to determine what of this hot, processed mess even sounds good right now.
This is me. This is so many, maybe almost all, of the women I know. The effort is takes to balance the journey of life is wearisome. So much so that there are books upon books written about it. Books about work-life balance, about being “in her shoes”, about “leaning in”, about “self-care”. I know, because I’ve read most of them.
And even that, in and of itself, can feel laborious. Just reading about (no, even making *time* to read about) all of the ways I am supposed to reduce this constant level of exhaustion is…exhausting.
But we work it all in. We get up early so some housework gets done. We pack the lunches, make the breakfasts, sign the agendas, help with the homework, and somehow have children that arrive at school on time. We listen to an audiobook or a podcast on the way to work. We weave making appointments, arranging schedules, and planning dinner in our head all while also doing a full day of work. We eat (maybe) and count the calories. We get on a conference call on the way home. We do the pick-ups, we exercise, we clean (again), we make the meals, we read the books, we put to bed, we pay the bills, we…..and on and on and on.
Somewhere in there, we get weary. Until we look like that poor lady at the airport with the kids all running in circles. Glazed eyes, frazzled hair, raw nerves, hair trigger emotions.
A weary traveler is on a journey. Are we there yet? Where is “there”?
At some point, weary travelers forget where they are going, and why they set out in the first place. They wonder, in that moment of insanity and frustration, if the destination is even worth all this effort. Maybe they don’t even know where the destination is anymore and the journey feels more like aimless wandering.
For almost four years, I’ve been on a journey with one purpose: fix it. Fit all of it.
Fix my job and profession. Fix my work-life balance.
Fix my marriage, by ending it.
Fix my kid, help him get the support he needs to be successful in school.
Fix my heart and heal from abuse and toxicity.
Fix my broken, unhealthy body.
Fix my house, surround myself with people and things that I love.
Fix the obstacles and barriers, become limitless.
And as a good friend and coach recently pointed out, I’ve done all of that. No wonder I am weary. It has been the hardest work of my life.
I am running out of things that need fixing. Sure, there’s always debt that can be paid off. Work that can further my career. Pounds that can still be lost and muscles that could still be stronger. Emotions I still let get the best of me.
The maintenance of life, in other words.
All in all, I’ve done what I set out to do. While there is “no finish line” when it comes to continuous improvement, I have arrived as “there” as I possibly could be on the journey.
The desire is, then, to sit back and take in the sights. Like any destination at the end of a journey, there is the promise of adventure, of play, of beauty, or of rest.
That frazzled mom will eventually sink into the hotel whirlpool with her husband and a glass of wine after her kids are in bed. Mary gets that little swaddled baby to snuggle before all those annoying, yet wise guests show up with super unhelpful gifts. And at some point, my kid and I fling open the doors of the car after a long road trip and sink our toes in the nearest sand and water we can find.
Weariness is a price paid for joy. And if it’s not, you’re traveling the wrong direction.