For the last four years of my life, I have been working my ass off. My hustle has consisted of working at least two jobs with a combined total of at least 58 hours per week. Occasionally, I would even max out at 74. My 15-hour workdays with no breaks and contributing to many websites were all part of landing my dream career. As a result, I would skip meals, miss opportunities, and barely get five hours of sleep.
On the nights I’m off from my part-time job, I have to fit in all my activities in the five hours available after finishing my full-time work. Whether it’s going to the gym, doing laundry, getting groceries, visiting friends or attending important family gatherings, I always made it work. Even if it meant neglecting certain things for a few days at a time. Nevertheless, I could schedule anything and everything whenever I could.
While I’m immensely proud of my hard work and accomplishments during the last four years, I’m finally burnt out.
I’m so tired of spending late nights at work. I’m tired of feeling pain in my feet to a point that I can’t sleep. Moreover, the anxiety of having to change my plans overwhelms me to the point when I reschedule everything I’ve planned so that I can accommodate the changes. On top of that, I’m scared I won’t receive my schedule fast enough. This means I won’t be able to organize my week and control my anxiety over it all. I’m over being conflicted about who and what I must prioritize. And I’m completely sick of listening to people criticize my hustle and decisions.
The thing is, I enjoy being busy. However, I also enjoy my alone time when I can do nothing and be happy alone. I’m also at that point in my life where I’m realizing that I’m missing out on a lot of things. I can’t just drop plans to go to some events – unless it’s too good of an opportunity. The luxury of last-minute weekend trips isn’t an option unless I already have the weekend off. I can’t plan anything for an upcoming week unless I have a schedule, and I have to bend over backward to get that through people’s heads. That stress has been eating away at me.
Working overly hard has become a norm in the millennial world.
We feel obligated to work our asses off for as long as we can in order to stay afloat. Furthermore, we have expenses that previous generations never had; loans that won’t pay themselves, and a cost of living that is so unrealistic that we’ll never catch up. (That is unless we win the lottery — for which we can’t even afford the tickets.) Hence, I’m not the only one experiencing these burnouts.
Millennials, myself included, simply can’t work just one job unless we’re fortunate to have a job that pays enough. And realistically speaking, it doesn’t happen very often. So yes, while it’s not always in the best interest of my mental and physical health, I know that if I have any hope of saving money or even earning it, this is how I have to do it. Even if it means getting no sleep, engaging in physical labor despite horrific back pain and not eating because of lack of time, so be it.
What’s sickening to me is how worthless I seem to my employers and friends. If I ask for some time off to better my mental health or just for a sanity break, others scold or judge me because “you do this to yourself.” Yes, I do it to myself, but I’m still a human who needs a break in order to recharge my batteries.
Finally, I know this phase of sacrificing my health for hustle will soon end. So I’m okay with continuing to power through despite being physically and mentally drained. The times I’ve cried, the dollars in my bank account, and the deep conversations I’ve had with others are only temporary. However, they will stay with me for many years to come. So for now, I just need to get away from it all so I can feel like a human again instead of a well-oiled machine. Because I can feel a nuclear breakdown beginning to erupt.
Featured image via WeHeartIt.