As the end of Winter approaches, some pretty nasty illnesses float around. Mutant flu, rampant stomach bugs and chronic despondence. It’s all very serious.
But I have it worse.
I have Terminal Insomnia.
Yes, it’s real and you can read about it here. And unlike the illnesses, it’s not seasonal – it’s an all year round affliction. And it can’t be treated or cured by a change of season. And the advice on the websites doesn’t help much either.
And Terminal Insomnia is a sneaky bugger. Sometimes it will go into remission for a few weeks and then all of a sudden it will come back, worse than before. I never know when I’ll have an attack or when it will stop its nonsense.
But it could be worse. I could have Fatal Insomnia. This is the worst kind. Even an induced coma cannot make your brain shut down. So eventually you just go mad and die. Sadly, there is no cure.
So if you have the sniffles or mild diarrhea or you’re lovesick for summer, suck it up! There are worse things that can happen to you.
I am the first person to admit that I am completely pathetic when I am sick. I become childlike and demanding and miserable. The world has to revolve around me more than usual because as far as I can tell, I’m dying. And people should feel sorry for me.
In fact, I had a long argument with The American about why I shouldn’t be left at home alone today, because I need someone to take care of me, because I am dying. That didn’t work. So, now I am home alone and feeling very sorry for myself. And any desire that The American had about having children one day has been cured.
Today I realised that after turning 25 your body goes backwards.
Although I passed the quarter century milestone some time ago, I have noticed how things just aren’t the same anymore. I don’t bounce back the way I used to.
I have been very sick twice in the past six months. Both times involved a lot of coughing and sneezing and me making puppy dog eyes at anyone who would give me attention. Before I turned 25 I wouldn’t even catch a cold. Now I need bed rest and a prescription from a medical practitioner.
Another horrible truth is the severity of hangovers in your mid-twenties. Back at university I would drink to excess and often. And I would be able to go to class and function normally the next day (except for the one day I fell asleep on my German professor) and celebrate with more beer and shooters once the sun went down (I believe I did that after the incident with the professor).
Now, if I mix my drinks or have one beer too many, I am out of action for two days. When I was 18 I would wake up, say ‘ouch’, rub the sleep out of my eyes and continue with my youthful living. Now, I wake up, swear at everything and then I swear a little more as it gets worse.
I tried drinking a lot of water between drinks at a party once. The only thing this lead to was me spending most of the evening in the little girls room and not getting drunk at all. That was for my 26th birthday…
Back in the day I could party until 2am. Now I’m lucky if I can stay awake past 9pm. I suppose I’m not waking up at midday anymore, but the ability to stay awake would be nice. I have become a narcoleptic party pooper.
I know it’s true and I have made peace with the fact that it’s all a lumpy downhill from here.
So, I work. I’m a young professional at the cusp of my career… And while I never thought I would do what I am doing, I love it and it’s taking over my life.
A day in my life starts with my alarm going off and me hitting snooze for about half an hour. But, reader, it’s cold out there and R50.00 excluding VAT says you are doing the same. Then it’s coffee, shower and off to the office for that hour and a half of silence and concentration before business officially opens (I have had phone calls at 07:30 though). And then the flood gates open and I’m rushed off my feet for the next eight hours. Then I hang around for another half hour or so, because, well, your business is important to me, and I will get you what you want.
Like many of my peers and colleagues, I don’t take lunch. I eat at my desk, and I take calls with my mouth full. It’s a good thing people like to talk, or else I would never get the chance to chew. I have become a master of multitasking, and can type up an e-mail completely unrelated to the phone call I stupidly took. So, in case you were wondering, I’m fine, thanks, and it’s freaking great that your Bulldog is okay after her operation. And I’ll send you that document in… hey, what do you know, it’s on its way right now. Do you have it? Great, goodbye.
Once I get home, I need to eat again. That means dinner for one, or sometimes dinner for five – because leftovers are great to take with the next day and eating the same thing two days in a row is a serious time saver.
Unlike other single, working people, I actually cook for myself. And not just two-minute noodles (I lost interest in those in the first three months of university), I’m talking about minimum two vegetables and some protein. Or pizza. I don’t do microwave dinners, I’m not paying money for something that smells like a wet dog when it’s ‘ready’, that is packed with sodium and is mostly made out of recycled cardboard and dye. Over the years I have become a decent cook, I have made amazing things with whatever is in the kitchen, and I’ve had some failures that have resulted in me needing to throw pots away. But 90% of the time, I’m eating okay and keeping those energy levels up for the next day.
I will then collapse into bed, with a book I’m too tired to focus on and read the same chapter three times before deciding it’s late and going to sleep.
Sometimes, I will have work functions. And these will drag on well past my bed time and I’ll watch people drink heavily and network with them, even though they will never remember who I actually am.
Sometimes, I can take a friend to work functions. These go on until the early hours of the morning too, but at least I have decent conversation that extends beyond soccer and weather (honestly, is there NOTHING else to chat about?).
And that is how I spend my evenings.
Some of my friends are married, living with their lovers or in serious relationships. And I need to know – how do they do it?
I barely have time for myself, but these guys are making time for another (every single day), getting their laundry done and producing meals that put mine to shame. They stay happy and connected, sometimes nauseatingly so, and I’m proud of them – high five, guys, you have superior time management skills! I currently don’t even have the time to date.
Before I blink again, it’s Friday and then I blink again and it’s Monday.
So, sure, I spend a large chunk of my weekends working. And sure, I’m really busy all the time. But that’s what it’s like being a working person. Relationships get neglected and recreation becomes a thing of the past.
One thing I do know is that I am luckier than most.
I love my job. I have a passion for my industry. A lot of people my age are miserable in their careers and desperate for something new – but it’s tough times for business, so they stick it out and become increasingly miserable. But not me, my exhaustion and routine make me happy.
And that is the life of this young professional in 750 words!