This is generally the first thing I see every morning when I wake up in my room at home. The office chair with pillows stacked up on it; when I get out of bed I move the pillows to my bed, transforming it into a sofa of sorts. Usually I wake up lazy, wanting to linger a little longer, to spend the day doing nothing, everything slow and easy.
The past few days I have woken up exhausted. Last night I actually slept for almost 12 hours straight, and still I woke up this morning absolutely worn out, right down to my bones. Usually moving seems like just a less desirable option; the past few days it felt like an impossibility.
The flu’s hit hard, and an infection as well – everything from nose to throat to ears feels inflamed. But above it all is just exhaustion, that feeling that makes my shoulders sag and my eyelids heavy. My body is telling me that it’s had enough, that it’s time to stop.
You can’t really blame it: the last week or so of my Beijing trip was brutal, and I ran straight to KL where I managed to catch up on a tiny bit of sleep, but not enough to recovered before I dashed full-tilt into the Philippines and a camp that may feel easy sometimes but sucks more out of you than you know. To top that off I spent the last three nights of that camp not sleeping. And then I came back to Singapore and straight into meetings, work, articles and events.
So my body’s quit on me, but the part of my brain that is still stubbornly clinging on is determined to keep going. You have articles, it reminds me. It’s been some time since you’ve sent the editors a draft. And when are you submitting some new blog posts? Ooh! This is a good idea for a piece… And so the ideas keep piling on and on and on, and I’ve had to learn to tell myself to stop, stop or collapse.
I wanted to do so much this year. It was going to be a gap year, a holiday year, but also a year for freelance work and a year for building networks and learning a new language and playing the piano and reading more books and making my own videos. Well, I’ve been to wonderful places and met amazing people and written pieces I’m really proud of, but I’ve also only made it through five pages of my Teach Yourself Malay book, and barely made a dent in my ludicrously long reading list.
At some point at the beginning of this year, I decided I was unstoppable. I was young and fresh and raring to go. The past three days I have learnt that all it takes is a sleep debt and a virus to turn me into a languid mush of uselessness.
It’s an important reminder: no matter how fast you want to run, you can’t run faster than your body can go.
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