Why am I always so bloody tired?

Monday 9 – Sunday 15 May 2022

One of the key features of last week and of my life in general is that I constantly feel tired – you could easily say knackered. I’m stuck trying to work out why this is? Is it due to my medical conditions and meds or is it just old age? Is it that work and modern life are just exhausting – I know many people also feel constantly tired. Perhaps my food and alcohol consumption doesn’t help but I also want to enjoy life as much as possible.

Awake early but asleep early

I am waking earlier which is totally linked to the earlier sunrises. And I am a morning person – I wake generally feeling I have more energy than at any other point in the day. I look forward to coffee, a Duolingo lesson, and some reading before the day starts. Then it is downhill from there. By the afternoon, I am struggling not to have a siesta. By the evening, I am tired and want to do nothing apart from eat, drink and watch stuff on the TV or pooter. Then I am normally in bed by 10 and asleep by 11. Sleep itself is generally good but incredibly deep.

Tired man asleep or despondent

Focusing energy and moving forward

It really does feel to me that life is ticking away; that it is passing me by. I don’t want to spend my time being tired and getting sleep that never seems to totally satisfy me. More and more I am thinking that I need to move to a semi-retirement and focus my limited energy on the things in my life that make me happy and give me delight. Perhaps that in itself will give me more energy and make me feel less tired? There really is only one way to find out and that is to take the leap.

Health and Efficiency

Gym – a good and bad week

A slight disaster in that on one of my days off last week, I was simply too tired to go to the gym. I love going there and currently can only really get there twice a week around other commitments (work, looking after mum, etc).

A good session on Tuesday morning though if I do too much in the gym in the morning, I am often extremely tired in the afternoon. To the point that I have to take a snooze. Managed to work through that tiredness on Tuesday afternoon last week.

Pushing weights

But then disaster on Thursday morning when I woke up still feeling tired. Perhaps linked to dinner with an old friend the night before – see below. But surely life should not be about having to make a choice between things you enjoy simply to be able to keep going? So skipped the gym on Thursday morning. The right decision but it makes me feel incredibly sad that I had to do that.

Dying lion or is he just tired?

In keeping with my ongoing analysis: 28 gym sessions since the start of 2022 = just under £18 per session.

Anal cancer check for personal and societal benefit

I get so tired of people being prudish and pretending bodily functions don’t exist. After attending hospital the week before to see my HIV consultant, I returned to hospital on Thursday to take part in a research project about anal cancer – details here. I am always happy to help with medical research otherwise how are we going to make progress? Indeed, this research may actually lead to early testing for everyone. And will also help me personally by identifying if I have early indications of anal cancer.

This cancer is more prevalent among men who are HIV+, 40+, and had anal / genital warts in their life. That profile fits me. Only two sessions to it, not one of these ongoing research projects. So last week, a meeting with the nurse and bloods taken. To be followed by a doctor taking swabs and a biopsy. All went well though difficult questions about what has happened to me healthwise over the last 40 years.

A nice long walk but no good news on weight

Despite being too tired to go to the gym on Thursday, I was determined to get some exercise on my day off. So I did a long walk all the way there and back to the hospital for my appointment. I was tired and the walk physically tired me but I felt exhilarated by burning calories and just being out in the open air.

Still not weighing myself as I know I’m not losing any weight because I am not trying. Probably very likely that me being tired is linked to being overweight. But losing weight is hard work and you need to be in the right frame of mind. I am not there yet. Perhaps one day when I am semi-retired and have less stress then I can focus on controlling my food and drink intake. Basically we all over eat and drink because we are stressed and unhappy.

Tech For Good / Work Life Balance

Does part-time really exist?

No doubt that I was tired last week as it was my first ‘full’ working one after the previous two being short ones with days off and bank holidays. You can read the blog about my previous week here. OK I only work 3 days pw but I find that enough and, as with all part-time work (perhaps all work?), you inevitably do more than you are paid for. I really don’t think I could actually work full-time these days – I just don’t have the energy for it.

But overall a good week at work with plenty achieved. Worth noting that it was all done WFH and on zoom. TBH, I find commuting to the office now both tiring and a waste of valuable time. I am certainly not going into the office to attend zoom meetings. And I cannot understand the stupidity of employers telling staff to ‘get back to the office’ – if that was the ultimatum to me, I would just walk.

the learning routine

Successful Tech for Good: If there ain’t a brief…

Several useful internal strategic meetings. But perhaps most useful was a couple of talks with not-for-profit organisations we may be able to do some pro bono / low bono work with. I have realised the key thing is working with organisations who have a real need for work to be done and aren’t just exploring options. That was the success with the Digital Referral Product we built for Citizens Advice – a practical tool that can ensure people in need get the support and help they need. I think if you aren’t clear about the problems you face and can’t produce a written brief for what you need then there probably isn’t a tech solution.

Family and Friends

The mums (Dave’s and mine) continue to do OK. Dave’s is gradually getting a bit more mobile though it is always going to be limited. I spent time with mine during the week. She also gets incredibly tired and spends much of her life sleeping, even when I am there. Though I am often working so it’s not like we are spending quality time together.

Dom and cheap red wine

So nice for me and Dave to meet up with my old mate Dom for dinner on Wednesday evening. It’s easy with life happening and being tired constantly to simply ignore friendships. But this is a false economy. We all need friends.

A fun brasserie meal though with a cheap bottle of red wine. Dom was keen we get something more expensive but I (wrongly) held out for this one. Definitely enabled me to chill but gave me a hangover which is quite unusual these days.

Wine

Dom himself is doing OK. It is very admirable how he travels to see people plus do things. Perhaps this is because he is fully retired. Could also be because he has managed to lose a significant amount of weight. This has been achieved through a specific diet he calls ‘Don’t Eat White’. Basically Dom doesn’t eat any carbohydrate ‘white’ food after breakfast. So during the rest of the day no bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, sugar, etc. Drastic (and grim) but clearly effective.

Phyllis and the joy of Torremolinos in summer

He’s in town for the weekend. Met up on Sunday in the drizzly weather; how different to the day before though that was probably due to global warming. Philip gets as tired as I do which makes me think it’s age related – we are two old blokes. But he was in good form when me and Dave met him. He’s really looking forward to experiencing post-pandemic Torremolinos in all its full summer glory as a gay holiday centre with sexy men coming from all over the world to visit.

Sun with glasses

Books and Reading

Being tired means I often go to bed early (9-10pm) and do some reading before I am so tired that I drift easily into sleep (normally around 10.30-11pm). This is my main way to get through books as well as via my kindle when I am walking. Managed to complete only one book last week.

Doctor Who ‘Short Trips #14: The Solar System’

Another volume of these iconic short story collections from Big Finish. In this book each story is based on a different regeneration of The Doctor having an adventure on each planet in the solar system. The assumption here is that Pluto is a planet (I think that is disputed now) and that there is also a tenth planet called Sedna discovered in 2003. Some well-written adventures and I always find Doctor Who a real comfort – pure escapism from the gloom of everyday real life like the horrible ongoing war in Ukraine and the machinations of the Unionists in Northern Ireland.

Phobos

My latest reading

  • Still carrying on with Clare North’s ‘Notes from the Burning Age’ on my kindle. It’s a good post-apocalyptic / sci-fi & fantasy novel though not too revolutionary for that genre.
  • Started the next unread book in the Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler, ‘Hall of Mirrors’. Fun story about the detectives in the 1960s. Basically a prequel to the later novels.

Art and Culture

Eurovision – definitely the right result for Ukraine and UK

I said in ‘The Week Ahead’ section of my previous blog (read it here) that this week is Eurovision week and one of the gay cultural highlights of the year. Only once every year and now it’s a week long thing now with the semis on Tuesday and Thursday then the actual contest on Saturday.

Watched the first semi on Tuesday with mum who decided to go to bed because she was tired and doesn’t give a shit about Eurovision. Ukraine got through this semi. Thursday was a better quality semi I think and I was pleased that Sweden got through as they so often do.

What a pleasant surprise the final itself was. Great result in that Ukraine had a good song and put in a strong performance. UK taking second was totally fair in that it was as good a song and performance but Europe was also able to show solidarity with Ukraine. And shows to the UK that if you put a decent song with a decent singer in then you can have success. Liked the craziness of Serbia; thought Australia and Sweden were really good. Didn’t get at all the appeal of Spain and Portugal.

Stayed at Dave’s to watch the final and we were up right till the end so no bed till half past midnight. Fascinating how a worthwhile and exciting event can help power you through tiredness though there was a lay-in on Sunday morning.

Do nothing cat

Great TV: Life After Life / Art That Made Us

No gallery or museum trips unlike the previous week when I managed to get to the wonderful Tate Britain. Thus, apart from Eurovision and my reading, my cultural highlight of last week came from TV.

The final installment of ‘Life After Life’ clashed with the first Eurovision semi but I watched it on my phone as I walked to and from the hospital. Beautiful both in imagery and music. Sure it’s slightly different to the book but still wonderful. Basically I think it’s saying life can splinter and go in a million directions often as a result of small things.

Again ‘Art That Made Us’ clashed with the Thursday Eurovision semi so watched it over the weekend. An exploration of the impact of the Industrial Revolution on Victorian society and the resulting artistic response (often denial such as with William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites). Great programme though the Industrial Revolution began well before the nineteenth century.

Sustainability

What matters and doesn’t matter

I am still trying to not buy shit and offload stuff in my life as well as persuade others to do the same. Took a bag of stuff to the charity shop on Thursday and a bag of secondhand books to trade at the Notting Hill Exchange on Tuesday.

Loads of bad news across the internet about the disastrous climate change that is happening. But the media is more worried about ‘Wagatha Christie’ (Vardy vs Rooney) as well as Depp vs Heard. We honestly don’t deserve this beautiful planet.

The joy of nature

One of the ways I try to combat feeling tired is by being with nature. Just a walk to the local park to sit and chill, seeing the world go by and people watching. One of the big things I love is being at Dave’s flat and watching the birds on his balcony. I think we’ve managed to stop the pigeons making a nest as detailed in my previous blog. The little birds (tits, thrushes, and robins) are absolutely delightful and make you realise how stupid are the modern lives that we have created for ourselves.

Close up of a blue tit

Personal Development

Duolingo

Not a bad week when it came to my language learning on Duolingo especially on Spanish. A lesson done nearly every day and some days I actually managed more than one lesson. As I said earlier, if I can do the lesson soon after I get up then that is the way to get it done. Leave it for later in the day and other stuff crowds it out or I am too tired.

“A word after a word after a word is power.”

Margaret Atwood

School of Code

Did find out about a very interesting free full-time course in coding from someone who is just finishing it. It’s called School of Code with details here. It’s free but intense being 16 weeks long and five days pw 9-5. It looks like a great opportunity to learn coding but I’m not sure it’s right for me with my constant tiredness.

The Week Ahead

  • Being tired is part of my everyday life and I don’t expect to have more energy in the week coming. Not least as I am doing a ‘full’ working week again. Though my colleague is back from sabbatical. Could make things easier though with lots of updating to do.
  • My usual two non-work days on Tuesday and Thursday. Hopefully I’m not too tired so that I can get to the gym on both days this time.
  • Carry on with my reading and Duolingo
  • No plans to see friends but I will spend time with mum even though she may well be sleeping LOL
  • Can I find the energy to get to a gallery or museum…?

And Finally…

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