Every generation has a moniker that defines them. The Lost Generation. Generation X. Millennials. And squished between the last two are us, the Xennials, which doesn’t sound like a flop Marvel franchise AT ALL. But today, I propose a new term. A term I feel fits us much better. We are *drumroll* The Exhausted Bunch. With none of the energy of the Brady Bunch, all the dysfunction of the Breakfast Club and a coterie of severely dated references. Because let’s face it, me-heartys, we’re tired af.
We work twelve-hour jobs (oh boo-hoo, our parents cry). But the job-lists follow us home after office hours, invading our personal lives through our email inboxes, like the unwanted neighbour who crashes your dinner party to discuss the next society fumigation drive.
We rarely take holidays. But when we do, work is just a phone-call away. “Listen, it’s just a quick call, it’ll take ten minutes tops and then you can get back to bungee-jumping/ beach-hopping / sex / whatever you were doing. Cool?”
Not cool. Once upon a time, a boss could occasionally leave office early, leaving his (nuh-uh, no her back then) juniors to do the drudge work. Now, if you’re not seen putting in the hours, there goes your raise. The higher you go, the harder you work. The gravy train has been sent to the junkyard, people, and with it, all hopes of a cushy life.
Forget a cushy life, some of us don’t even have social lives. The concept of hanging out with your friends after work a la F*R*I*E*N*D*S or HIMYM is now laughably dated. An after-work movie with your special someone? Won’t happen outside a work of fiction. The most we can hope for is a Netflix binge while we’re commuting because that shit takes like an hour and a half. If we’re single or child-free, we can extend that binge through dinner and then let’s face it, we’re not going to switch off till we figure out if Mindy and Danny split up or stay together.
So up we stay, inviting lifestyle diseases with a flirty crook of the finger till we remember that damn, there’s that early morning meeting, halfway across town the next morning. Switch off, sleep, wake up with a stress dream, try to sleep, fail, almost succeed and whoops, there goes the alarm and up we get. And what’s the first thing we do?
Check our email.
We live interrupted lives. And we don’t protest because hey, this is the new normal. Cardiac trouble in our twenties is normal. Blood pressure spikes in our thirties is normal. Burning out in our forties is normal. Being more wound up than a chained prisoner on a pirate ship is… normal?
But maybe it’s just me. Maybe there are beautifully rested professionals in their late thirties out there, who are even now, reading this and saying, “But if she’s so tired, let her quit.” Fair point. After all, today, professionals quitting high-paying corporate jobs to take up organic farming or pottery is also… normal.
PS: I’m not quitting. I can’t afford it. Not because I’m an “Urban Poor” (note sarcastic quotes) but simply because I’m an urban professional.