Somehow two months have once again slipped through my fingers. My half-century mark celebration has come and gone. And the world is taking cautious steps back toward normalcy. For me, that means more days in the office again. And dealing with the repercussions of some flavor of the Great Resignation. Though in my experience those decisions have more to do with embracing change for the sake of change than any commentary about our specific work environment.
I’ve been seeing an interesting set of reporting that by now, burn-out is a given. And that the ideal work day is something more like five hours, or maybe six hours long.
And my personal bugaboo…There have been far too many nights when my brain won’t shut down and let me sleep. Sleep, and the increasing recognition of its vital contribution to health, has been a recurring topic in stories I’ve read. A round-up of studies summarized earlier this month emphasized ongoing cognitive impacts of less-than-optimal sleep. Another article says the old myth of eight hours being sufficient… really isn’t true. All of this has deeper, societal implications as families cobble together enough working hours to get them viable pay to cover essential bills. Or, if you’re like me, and an incorrigible night-owl.
So then there’s advice on how to stop “should”-ing yourself.
All of this together maybe starts to point the way toward an explanation of why I (and most of my colleagues, friends, and family) have all commented on that creeping sense of exhaustion. It’s hard not to put it in the context of sensing we’re all on the path of working until we drop. Retirement and aging might look different now from what it did 100, 200, 300 years ago, but I have strong reasons to doubt that my generation will have the kind of retirement experience those who retired in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s did. There is something to having a big, round number birthday that makes these considerations carry additional weight.
It all makes me want to slow down. Enjoy the magical moments of peak firefly display while our Huskies schnouffle their way down a dark path through the park. Take an extra few minutes to cuddle my hubs. Discover another new-to-me author and spend a few hours reading their stories.
Life is a fleeting enough without buying into the capitalist valuation of every hour of our days. So I’m dreaming about what a life unplugged and off the grid might look like. And imagining that into the world I’ve built in the Planet Seekers series. I have a cover for book 3 that I’m saving for a cover reveal post once I get properly underway with writing… but I also have my editor’s voice in my head regarding one of her take-aways from book 2: That pervasive sense of exhaustion that has nagged at me bled through to my protagonist and made her–and by extension my editor–tired. What would it feel like to be fully rested on a consistent basis? To live for curiosity and exploration and connection rather than a never-ending series of obligations?
That should make for some interesting science fiction, and I’m starting to feel renewed enough by my break, that writing itself should kick off soon. Stay tuned.