March 16, 2018

I am just so tired

Some nights this week, I have slept for more hours than I usually do, waking up late and feeling groggy for the rest of the day. Other nights, I have been unable to fall asleep, passing my sleepless hours playing Alto’s Odyssey or reading books.

In both cases, I spend the days tired, almost exhausted, looking for reprieve from the fatigue. I exercise, I spend time outdoors, I take cold showers, I turn off my screens before bedtime; I do everything I can to encourage good sleep hygiene, and to build energy and wakefulness, but still I remain in a somewhat-catatonic state.

It’s easy to blame the exhaustion on the time change, or on poor sleep patterns, or on some other kind of external factors. Really, this tiredness is from a confluence of factors, most of all my body reminding me that I am not invincible, that I am human, and that I can’t expect myself to do everything, all the time.

That’s not a message I tell myself often enough—that I’m okay, that I don’t have to feel like I’m succeeding and delivering and over-achieving all the time—so sometimes my body has to say it to me; it does that through exhaustion, and that’s the message I’m getting this week.

I have a lot to do this coming weekend, but the most important thing I will do is to take care of myself, to relax, to spend some time with my family, and to be kind enough to let myself off the hook for everything I promised myself I would do.

Next week, perhaps I won’t be so gosh darn tired. Until then, forgive me for sleepwalking through the day.

In case you missed it:

A few things to read and explore:

If you’ve been wondering about how to get into Prince, his life and his music, and why some people (ahem, me) are so fanatical about him, this short, accessible piece by Jaya Saxena in GQ is the perfect place to start.

The second season of Atlanta just began, and while I haven’t seen any episodes of this season, the first one was like nothing I had ever watched on television. This profile of Donald Glover confirms that he’s just as strangely insightful as you’d imagine him to be.

The idea of tender masculinity” is a beautiful one—I’d love to see more depictions of this kind of character in pop culture.

I just finished reading a collection of essays by Frederick Douglass, and not only did I learn so much about the man’s life and ideas, but I was astounded by just how passionate he was about telling stories and making sure those stories were remembered. This piece about what Hollywood can learn from Douglass is perfectly timed.

The relationship between our work and the tools we use to do that work has been top of mind for me recently, especially as I’ve been doing research on performance management in large organizations. Two pieces this week, on how the PDF is the world’s most important file format and how Microsoft Office is more of a productivity drain than Candy Crush, are particularly relevant.

It’s no secret that I’m in love with public libraries, so I’m heartened to see how public libraries across Canada are re-inventing themselves based on new community needs.

Speaking of our civic institutions, I’m really happy to see big cultural organizations like museums, and even magazines like National Geographic, start to grapple with their colonial, and oft-racist, histories.

If we hoard and hide what we love, we can still lose it. Only then, we are alone in loss.” Love this video about the broccoli tree.

I knew nothing about the history of single-room housing in America before this visual essay, but now I’m so very curious to learn even more.

When America’s Basic Housing Unit Was a Bed, Not a House

Alma Haser made identical jigsaw puzzles out of portraits she’d taken of identical twins and then swapped every other piece when putting them together. Oddly fascinating.

Within 15 Minutes by Alma Haser

Reuben Wu flies drones around mountains and then takes long exposure photos to make them look as though they have natural halos. I can’t stop looking at these.

Lux Noctis by Reuben Wu

And to close the list of links for this week, a beautiful reflection on staying awake” by Sara Hendren, part of her absolutely wonderful post about being an adult:

Here is the hardest thing for many people about adulthood: Staying awake. That is, resisting the somnambulance that will grow like weeds over any state of habitual life, excepting acute crises. You have to actively invite experiences into your life that will interrupt the smallness of your story and the calcifying generalizations you make about the world based on your own private universe.

Now, go out and be astonished by something, today. And then, if you’re willing—tell me all about it. I can’t wait to hear about what surprises you.

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