Thursday, December 16, 2010

the sabbath

(via Sabino)

In my view, there are two kinds of tired.  The first one is the kind you are from lack of sleep.  New parents and law firm associates are familiar with this kind.  Sometimes, when I have been working late several nights in a row, I wake up and cry because I'm so tired.  Then I think, "When is the next time I can sleep?"  If it's more than a day away, I cry again.  I know, sad. 

The second kind of tired is further from the surface.  It's the kind of tired you are when you have no time to relax.  Kathy once said it's like you have a raw nerve inside your brain, and everyone you interact with keeps rubbing that one exposed nerve.  (Actually, now that I think of it, I'm sure new parents have this kind of tired too.)  Even if you get enough sleep on a raw-numbers basis, this kind of tired wears you down. 

I am sure you can see where this is going.  Lately, in addition to the changes going on, we have been going-going-going.  Even on the weekends, we are up before eight, making breakfast (or buying it), getting ourselves out the door, shopping, putting up Christmas decorations, working, doing chores, going to the grocery store, etc., until we drop into bed exhausted.  Then we get up and repeat. 

We still have not done our Christmas cards.  And we only have to do half the work because we never got them out last year either, so we just have to do the ones we didn't finish last year.  This morning, on the way to work, I asked Kathy when we were going to get it all done.  She said to me, "You're not going to like this.  But usually, about this point in December, I just stop sleeping."  Only for Kathy would that be the solution.  I'm not sure what will happen to me if I add the first type of tired into the second type of tired.  I would probably need to go on medical leave or something. 

When I was in high school, I was in my church's youth group (this will come around and be on point, I promise).  I remember a class that someone taught about how there is scientific evidence for a lot of stuff in the Bible.  The only anecdote I remember relates to the sabbath.  Studies are showing that humans live longer if they rest for a day each week (I'm not linking to any studies because all the studies I can find on the internet involve Mormons).  Not just "don't go to work," but actually rest, not do chores.  For me, I think a recharge day would look something like this:  I would sleep until I wasn't tired anymore, get up, have some coffee, get some exercise or do something outside for an hour or two, read my book uninterrupted for at least an hour, cook some yummy food, and after dinner do some kind of quiet activity, like watching a movie or playing Scrabble with Kathy (who does not play Scrabble, for the record).  Then, I would go to bed kind of early. 

I can't even imagine what it would feel like to be able to have one day like that each week.  To not be the second kind of tired anymore, because I would have the time I needed to actually relax on an ongoing basis, rather than just when it all becomes too much and I collapse or get sick. 

This is now a requirement for my next gainful employment.  I am not going to take a job unless I think I will be able to handle all of life's requirements throughout the week and on Saturdays, so that our family can have a day of rest on Sundays, before we jump into the next new week.


  1. I don't know anyone who has a day like that every week.

  2. I have been reading your blog for about a fortnight, following a post from you on APW and just wanted to say how much I am enjoying it. I am newly married, working in Big Law in London and wrestling with questions as to what to do, how to do it, how to remember who I was before I started working here (5 years ago), how to nurture my baby family, support my old family, hang out with my friends AND have some time with myself (leaving aside Christmas and its emotional and practical requirements) which is probably why this post resonated with me so strongly. I am all kinds of tired! I find being able to see you wrestling with the same issues and concerns (which are quite isolating) incredibly helpful, so thank you. I hope you get even a short time to yourself, chore free soon. Happy Christmas.

  3. @Theresa - Me either. Other than, apparently, Mormons, judging by the studies I was able to find online. But I think the problem is with our culture, not with the goal. And when I have had other jobs, or when I was in law school, I certainly had MORE time for leisure then I do now. So, still worth striving for, I think, even if it's not perfect.

    @Anonymous - Thank you! Your comment means a lot. It's nice to know there are other people out there in this boat. :-)