We all go through such times. Times where we struggle to keep our heads above the water as we swim through a marathon of raging seas. For a minute we may stop swimming, hold our breath and sink under the water feeling our bodies float as it’s carried by water without gravity. The feeling we are free of – of aching muscles, burning lungs, waves splashing in our face, the salt stinging our eyes – it’s all gone as we go down under and we’re tempted to stop rising back up again and just give in. That’s how I often feel and I am sure many of you feel.
Today especially I am tired of dragging my exhausted mind and body along and rushing through days with stress and too many responsibilities and tasks. As I drove back from my doctor’s appointment this afternoon I felt like all my entire being wants is to lie down and put a pillow over my head as I tell myself, “It’s okay. You can just forget about the world for a while and close your eyes.” And so that’s what I did. I had tons of things to still do and somewhere to be but every fibre of my being just resisted. Having no food in my fridge wasn’t even a problem. I’d rather have collapsed on my bed and have no food to eat until tomorrow. Being a final year med student isn’t easy. People think it’s a glamorous job but I swear to you it’s not. I have learned to keep swimming against the waves pushing back even though a few times I have gone under and almost didn’t resurface. I have built more muscle to push back against the waves and my lungs have stretched to fill with more air. But there is a limit to every single human being, no matter how strong.
Being tired is okay. When you have immense challenges in your life there’s no way you’ll conquer them in one big breath. You’ll get tired. You’ll wonder if it’s even worth it. You’ll doubt yourself and your strength. Your body will refuse to drag on at times and you’ll run out of a zest for anything. Does that mean you are weak and living an unfulfilling life? No. It means you are a human being that has set out goals and dreams to achieve and you are suffering the side effects from getting to those. If you are tired and weary, rest. You may not get done what you should get done or get it done to the very best of your ability, but you’re still moving, no matter how slowly.
I have learned this the hard way. I wanted my life to be perfect and achieve everything to perfection. So no matter how tired I was, I dragged my corpse around and forced it to push and push and push until I broke. Breaking and burning out has far worse consequences than taking things slow and not excelling in every single thing you do in life. I have learned that I’d prefer keeping a sense of my sanity and keep myself alive instead of trying to be superhuman and if that means not getting everything done the way it should be then so be it!
Life is very much about the career path you choose. Your avocation/calling/purpose/thing-that-occupies-most-of-your-time but it’s also about learning to love the process and making sure you are healthy and happy. Medicine right now is my number one priority and it’s all I have time for really so I guess no relationship responsibilities is a good thing for now! But in knowing that, I also have to take a breather from time to time and recalibrate. I need to remind myself why I am here and why I chose this in the first place and why I want to keep choosing it. And I do want to keep choosing it!! I need to allow myself to collapse on my bed every once in a while. I need to allow myself to make time for friends and my huskies. I need to allow myself to take things slow when I get too tired to run. And I need to allow myself weekends where I have to fly to the ocean for my best friend’s wedding! Yes, your career and paying bills, taking care of your family and being secure are very important responsibilities, but you cannot fulfill any of those if you are down and out!
So to everyone feeling a bit too exhausted right now… Just get up, dress up and show up and when you need to, rest. Breath. Recalibrate. Sleep. Laugh. Learn. Stop overthinking and trust that everything will work out for the best!! Even if there are days where all you did was breathe, that’s flipping fantastic!! Just remember, you are your first priority and your mental and physical health comes first. Just breathe and learn to rest. Things will get done when they get done and you’ll get where you need to be. ❤