Beyond Exhausted

A co-worker asked me this morning if I was okay. I smiled, knowing exactly what she meant. Her next sentence was, “You look exhausted.” She continued by telling me that I’ve looked exhausted for days. Weeks would be more like it. No matter what I do, no matter how much I try, I cannot catch a break. My life has been a series of revolving activities. When one might look like it’s coming to an end, here comes another to takes it place. No amount of planning has helped. The monkey wrenches won’t stop banging into my stuffed schedule, bringing more responsibility and less sleep.

Unknown-2I’m the person who needs a good 7-8 hours of sleep a night to function at my best. My husband is one of those creatures who can get by with cat naps. Why can’t I be like him? Sleep is a hot commodity for me right now. My typical bedtime is getting later and later, thus that exhausted look my co-worker noted. I actually woke myself up from a deep sleep last night with an urge to pee and wondered if I even had the energy to walk to the bathroom. When my alarm sounded, I debated the benefits of ten more minutes from hitting that snooze button, which meant I had the choice of using the straight iron on my hair or slapping it into a bun. The bun won! The ten minutes were worth it.

It doesn’t help that my waking hours are moving at warp speed. The to-do lists that I painstakingly try to follow just get longer and longer every day. It’s no fault of my own, though. You see, I’m a planner. I’m an over-planner. My ultra-logical brain is constantly making sensible agendas for my days, organizing the tasks into required time and relevance to other activities in hopes of allowing some to piggyback on each other. In theory, I have it all together. In theory.

The monkey wrenches that I mentioned are a source of frustration for me. I know what I have to do to get through the day. I build in time to run or do yoga. I plan for the possibility of a few minutes to read or watch something just to unwind. Still, I can count on one hand the number of times those relaxing things have actually happened in recent weeks. I was even trying to reorganize my cluttered schedule in my head last Sunday during church when I should have been listening to the pastor’s message.

I’m feeling overwhelmed, to say the least.Unknown

Being a mom, a wife, a friend, an employee–heck , a PERSON– is tough sometimes. Life can get hectic. The clutter can pile up on the kitchen counter and you can have no idea what’s in those piles. The to-do lists can grow so long that it looks like they’ll never end. The monkey wrenches can fly with a frightening pace from every direction right in the middle of what already feels like chaos. Your co-worker can tell you that you look exhausted.

I’m going to flip the script. Instead of obsessing about the things that I will not accomplish today even with my best planning and efforts, I’m going to take a minute, right here at my computer, and breathe. I’m not going to think about my jam-packed day. I’m not going to stress about the growing list of things that seem impossible. I’m going to sip some coffee and allow myself to feel good about the things I am managing to maintain in the midst of the madness.

  • I haven’t missed a day of laundry- washing, drying, and putting up the load. Okay, my husband and daughter help, but I’m taking some credit.
  • My family has had a meal on the table every night. Whether I cooked it or not, that doesn’t matter.
  • I have cheered loudly at my daughter’s track meets and volleyball games as well as checking her homework every night.
  • I’ve held my husband’s hand and laughed with him.
  • I worked with my dog sitting right at my feet.
  • I chatted with my daughter who lives in Florida and calls every day on her way home from work.
  • I smiled when I received messages from my son with stories about college life.
  • I enjoyed treats from my mom who surprised us with homemade meatloaf and banana bread.
  • I sang along- probably too loudly- to my Hamilton playlist in the car.
  • I found quiet moments to pray.
  • I felt loved. Even in the crazy moments. Even through the exhaustion. Even when I didn’t feel lovable.

So, yeah, I definitely look exhausted. That much is true. I didn’t need my co-worker’s comment to know that. I’ll take the exhaustion, though. There will be a day when I’ll feel relaxed and rested again. In the meantime, I’ll breathe deeply, find creative ways to fit more into my days, grab any amount of sleep I can get, put a smile on my exhausted face, and feel loved.

It’s the love that gets me through this crazy season of life.

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