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Nick Ang

Mind the always tired folly

As an adult, I often hang out with friends after work for drinks or a munch. As an adult, I’ve also noticed that it takes time for other adults to be vulnerable in a social setting, before we talk about The Real Stuff, and sometimes just when things start to get interesting someone would announce that he is tired and propose to call it a night. It’s not just the guys either.

We’re all adults here, so I’m going to lay it straight - that’s not cool.

The hours after work are holy for anyone who’s working full time. To get together takes advanced planning and saying “no” to other plans and accepting an expense of energy (that could have been saved so we’d have more to work the next day), and being always tired and taking away the best parts of the night is quite simply unacceptable.

But why is this happening in the first place? What’s making that person in the group always tired?

It’s very unlikely that this is someone who genuinely has tonnes more work to do than the rest of the lot. If he did, he’d probably be hanging out with his other busy friends, not this bunch who appreciates a good chat. The truth is neither the truth nor the reason in these situations.

That leaves us with 2 possible answers: 1. This person doesn’t actually care about you and your group of friends. 2. He/she isn’t keeping balance in his life.

If it’s the first answer, there’s nothing much left to discuss. Let this person slowly fade away from the pack.

If it’s the second though, what can we do?

Every person has the same amount of time each day. How we spend the time determines whether we’ll be beat by the time we finally get to hang out with friends or not.

I know that everybody also has varying degrees of financial independence and family responsibilities (though it’s most likely not that big a difference if you’re friends), but I believe that this fact only partially accounts for someone’s perpetual fatigue. There has to be a specific area in this person’s life that is maintaining, even enlarging the leaky pipe. I believe that for most people (based on observation), it’s the (lack of) state of their minds.

I know because I’ve been there. I’ve been the person who begs for the night to end early so I wouldn’t be exhausted at work the next day before. Every time I manage to muster enough clarity to reflect on the reason, it’s always the same one. I hadn’t been spending my time properly. I’d been mindlessly doing thing after thing, and not doing more things after things. Things up there were in a mess.

Living a good life requires deliberate action. A person will not get better just by being himself. He needs to think of a better version of himself, sketch a plan to become more like that and occasionally put in the work to actually improve. Spending any time in a mindless state in 2017 will not just cause us to stagnate - it’s likely to cause us to regress.

We’d be better off taking what Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption had to learn the hard way and run with it: get busy living, or get busy dying. Close YouTube whenever you’re on it just for entertainment (and recognise it’s the new TV) and get more sleep. Maybe then you’ll not feel quite as tired the next time you’re with your slightly more mindful friends.

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