Robot’s Useless Reviews – Tiredness

I’m tired. I woke up tired. I drank coffee, and nothing much changed. I ate food, and then I felt sleepy. I started working anyway, produced some words and felt tired. I went out on the bike, rode medium-hard and came back, predictably tired. Everything that charges the battery also runs it down.

Do you feel this?

Life is pretty relentlessly tiring, no? I bet if I asked you if you were tired ten times, you’d say ‘yes’ at least nine of them. Like me, I suspect it’s because you have a poor attitude, or you don’t want to look like a try-hard by being too peppy. If you’re not tired, obviously you haven’t been doing much. You’re lazy. You don’t deserve a break.

Or you’re not anemic/depressive/anxious/over-trained/underfed/apathetic. Whatevs.

Some people say, “You have to listen to your body,” as if my body communicates anything other than “STOP!” If I listened to my body, I’d spend most of my time face down on the floor drooling. I’d eat all of the Oreos that Oreo Incorporated has ever made. As voices go, my body is what you’d call an ‘unreliable narrator,’ more likely to try to rope me into an Oreo-related pyramid scheme or some sort of sleep cult, than to deliver me to a place of contentedness and health.

People who tell me to listen to my body make me, not surprisingly, feel very tired. And it’s at this point that I grow tired of feeling tired, and that’s a sort of ultra-meta-tiredness. It’s like Morpheus said to Neo, “Take the red pill or the blue bill,” but actually both pills are Ambien, and you’re about to have a long, involved dream in which you spend all your time trying to find a reasonable place to lay down.

Please now consider the General Public song “Tiredness.” Or Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tiredness.” Both classics of their respective genres.

What is the answer to all this tiredness? What do we do? Benjamin Franklin said, “There will be sleep enough in the grave,” which Warren Zevon later updated to “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.” As far as I know he didn’t give Franklin a co-writer’s credit, but they’re both dead now, so…my takeaway is that humanity has always been tired. There is no solution. The only way forward is acceptance.

And so here we are, setting our alarms, pulling up our bibs maybe, drinking our coffee and pushing off on one pedal to push back the tide of fatigue. Those first pedal strokes might feel good. You build up some speed, some rolling momentum. Maybe you catch a tailwind, and then for a little while you’re convinced you’ve actually broken free. You feel a-mazing! And then, well, thanks for playing. Tiredness is back. It is, in the end, just the human condition.

Join the conversation
  1. Jeff vdD says

    One thing that’s worked well foe me in warding off Tiredness is getting more sleep. Am I never tired? Of course not. But I’m infrequently tired. Give it a try!

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      Jeff, I hear you. If only my body would comply. This morning I woke at 4. I have plenty of time to sleep, but apparently sleep doesn’t have much time for me.

  2. alanm9 says

    At 545am it’s dark and I’m rolling out on my commute. I feel tired, as usual. In 5 minutes I’m out of the saddle, sprinting in traffic, not tired.

  3. Barry Johnson says

    Too much sleep (over 7 hours) makes me more tired. You can’t win.
    So basically life is too short for bad coffee and crap bikes.
    Splurge on your anti tiredness expenditures

  4. TominAlbany says

    I don’t do sleep consistently.
    Typically, I wake up in the middle of the night to address the issues of my late 50s. It’s the getting back to sleep that’s hard. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t.
    I never set an alarm though. If I’m lucky enough that my body decides to sleep through a workout, I take it as a gift.
    I don’t miss many workouts though…

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