Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Real Life Fatigue

I'm sure I'm not the only person who gets real life fatigue sometimes.

When I was about three months away from finishing university, I was having a chat with my older brother about work, the jobs I was applying for, and so on. I was telling him about how I was excited for "real life", and he laughed at me, and said "Alice, you have no idea what the real world is like." I became pretty indignant, and was certain I knew what being an adult was like. I'm pretty sure now that I was really rather wrong.

Found here
Living back at home, I'll be quick to admit that I certainly don't know everything about being an adult. But since I've now been in gainful employment for over a year, I've kind of got real-life fatigue.

I'd describe real-life fatigue at that feeling that you just really, really need a six week holiday. Or any holiday, actually, where you aren't counting the days against your annual leave entitlement. And particularly a holiday that rolls around once every six weeks.

The feeling that you'd actually quite like to return to the days when your job, the one thing you had to do, was go to school and learn, rather than sitting in a job which kind of makes you feel like the brain you spent twenty years cultivating is turning slowly to mush, while you sit and contemplate whether this is indeed what you'd like to do for the rest of your working life. Of wishing to return to a time when you actually knew when the school holidays were because you got them off, rather than working it out because the traffic is always worse in term time.

The tiredness over spending more of your disposable income than you'd like on things like petrol, cake ingredients, birthday cards for work colleagues, parking permits, membership fees. Of working full time but still having to save and wait to be able to justify buying the dress you fell in love with in H&M. The sense of unfairness when others can buy without thinking, or can afford the things you can't justify.

And just when it all feels a little bit much. Like you're the only one who is struggling, and wishing for the days that it was socially acceptable to nap after a hard morning of playtime, or being able to just sit back and pass the reigns without feeling guilty, or realising that actually, your parents worked bloody hard when you were little- you realise that it isn't just you. We all get this.

From here
I think half the country are suffering from Real Life Fatigue, to be completely honest. We all wish for the simpler times. And I think a big part of being an adult is getting up in the dark at 6:15am, and getting home in the dark at 6pm, and coming to terms with the fact that this is life now.

And getting past the fatigue by finding good friends to email you at work, or a fun sports team to spend a weekend day with, or finding the job that is absolutely your passion. And appreciating the little moments. The colleague's adorable kids, the delight on people's faces when you bring them a cake, the all-too-infrequent "thank you, you did a great job" 's from your manager.

It all kind of makes the fatigue worth it. Because sometimes- being a grown up is absolutely bloody brilliant.


  1. Definitely know what you mean (and I'm not even working full time yet)! x

  2. I so get what you mean! Being a real life grown up is hard, that's why we are allowed the alcohol! :) xx

  3. i know exactly what you're talking about. and the best lesson i learn about this 'real life' thing? i thought when i'm there, i would figure out myself. but the truth is, you'll still ask yourself that same question "what am i should do????"

  4. Yeah, this is so normal. But it definitely comes and goes. When it goes? Things get better, and you remember how competent you actually are, how you don't have to do the washing up if you bloomin well don't feel like it, and you get to have BOYS in your ROOM without asking or leaving the door open.

    It's a strange, double sort of freedom: freedom from control of 'grown ups' and freedom to do whatever you like. But it's like Peter Parker, with great freedom come great responsibility. :)

  5. I know where you're coming from. It's that feeling that up until your early twenties, you're working towards something, school, college, uni, and then you start working full time, and it's kind of an anti climax. Like, is this really it for the next forty years? Definitely agree that you've got to look for the positives too though :)

  6. Ah I really enjoyed reading this post. The first part sounded exactly like me! I must have graduated the same year as you (summer 2012?) and was so ready for real life to start and to not be living a student lifestyle anymore. Now more than a year down the line and in a job, real life fatigue definitely takes a hold sometimes. But like you said, you have to remember the good/cool stuff too! :) Thanks for writing this and letting me know it's not just me! I often don't think my friends feel this same thing! xxx

  7. This is why I keep putting off entering the 'real world'. I enjoy uni way too much, and not just the social side. I love learning. I'm thinking of doing a masters next year :)

  8. If I was articulate in anyway, this would have been the post I would have written today. This is definitely what's going on with me at the moment. Serious 'is this it?' syndrome. And I've been a real-life adult for eeks, 6/7 years now. I'm sure we'll get all deep and shit on Saturday. I can't wait. And why don't I get fun emails in work. Booooo.

    Jenny | sunny sweet pea xx

  9. I'm having this right now, I've been working for two years now since leaving Uni, and I am so jealous of my friends who are teachers who get long stretches of holidays (not the teaching kids part!).

  10. There are good days and bad days. But most days, being a grown-up IS really good.

    I will say, I think it's easier in your late 20's. 23, 24, and 25 were hard for me. I'm finally starting to feel like I know myself and how to be a grown-up at 28. :)

  11. Totally relate to this! Recently found your blog, and am enjoying it :) chin up!

  12. I totally understand this! When I was in my first job after university, I couldn't get my head around how long the week actually was! x

  13. HERE HERE, oh my god Alice I feel like I've just read something I could have written.
    I've only been in employment for a few months but I'm living on my own with my boyfriend while he's studying so we're struggling along trying to support ourselves and it can be quite tough sometimes. Especially having moved to a new city and gone in to an industry I didn't know anything about. I could do with a holiday where I don't count days or time or feel like I'm edging ever-closer to returning back to work. You're so right - it makes you realise how much you have in common with the rest of the world, and it gives you SUCH an appreciation of your parents. I can't believe they worked like this when they had me and my brothers. I'd be dead on my feet!

    It's really helped reading this, I feel like it's OK to feel this way (do you ever feel ungrateful? I do!) and that it's a case of accepting the life-change and adjusting to being able to see the new good things.



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