Aprill Brandon is a feature columnist who writes about life for the Victoria Advocate.

I’m tired.

But don’t worry. This isn’t going to be one of those pieces where the author spends 800 words telling you just how much more tired they are than you. (Although, I only got two hours of sleep last night. Not that it matters. Because, again, this isn’t that piece).

See, I know you’re tired, too. We’re all tired. The whole world is tired. None of us are getting enough sleep, and all of us are under more and more pressure to do more during our waking hours.

Which is why, I suspect, we as a society have turned tiredness into a competition. We all feel guilty that we aren’t doing more, so we try to win the only contest we can: Who is more tired?

Person 1: “I’m so tired.”

Person 2: “Me, too. I only got five hours of sleep last night.”

Person 1: “I only got four.”

Person 2: “Did I say last night? I meant for the whole week.”

Person 1: “I meant for the whole month.”

Person 2: “I basically haven’t slept since I was a child.”

Person 1: “Must be nice. I haven’t slept since I was literally in utero.”

Person 2: “Really? I couldn’t even sleep in there. What with that constant beating of Mother’s heart.”

I don’t know how we got to this point. Maybe it was the internet, connecting us all to the world 24/7. Maybe it was the rise of social media, connecting us all to each other 24/7. Or perhaps it’s just hard to get a solid eight hours when the world feels like a dumpster fire.

But whatever the reason, it appears there is some fierce competition for the title of “Most Tired.” Because you can get into this competition with pretty much anyone. Take moms, for instance.

Pregnant woman: “I’m so tired.”

New mom: “Ha! Just wait until they are born.”

Mom of toddler: “Aw, that’s cute. Mine is mobile and can open doors and has opinions.”

Mom of teenager: “Well, I haven’t slept since mine got his driver’s license.”

Mom of multiple teenagers: “I’m technically dead.”

There’s also the generational tiredness rivalry.

Old person: “I’m so tired; my angina and trick knee kept me up all night.”

Middle-aged person: “I was up worrying about taking care of my aging parents and my growing kids.”

30-something: “My career is killing me.”

20-something: “I work three jobs and have no money and no future, and the Arctic is literally on fire.”

College student: “I had to pull an all-nighter for exams and then work all day at my unpaid internship.”

Teenager: “I had to pull an all-nighter for Fortnite.”

Everyone: “Oh, shut up, Kyle.”

There’s also usually a romantic partner daily exhaustion war. My husband and I are experts at this.

Husband: “I had to finish 17 projects today and redo the entire website and fight the crowds for the train home.”

Me: “I had to drag two little kids all over town and deal with 23 tantrums and 15 meltdowns and take the dog to the vet, and I have insomnia, and I need to finish my blog about how much more tired I am than you and everyone else in the world.”

(Again, not that this is all about how much more tired I am than you, dear reader. Even if it’s true, it’s not the point).

And then, there is all the situational tiredness. The bad job tired. You ever had a bad job? It’s exhausting. There’s the bad relationship tired, where your brain basically turns to mush rehearsing all the things you should say to your crappy partner but never do because you’re just too tired. Or the financial problems tired, where you trade sleep for calculating which limbs you can sell to make ends meet this month.

And that’s all just the level of tiredness you feel when everything is going fairly well in your life. It’s a whole new level of fatigue when you are, say, battling a chronic disease or a mental illness or raising a child with special needs or dealing with racism and sexism and bigotry every day or struggling in poverty or ... yeah, you get it.

We’re tired.

So who wins the award for most tired? I mean, clearly it’s me. Although the rest of you put up quite the battle. Which is why I’m going to pull a Cady Heron from “Mean Girls” and break apart the crown and give us all a piece of the title.

More importantly, what’s the answer? How do we stop being so tired?

Truthfully, I have no idea. But I’m sure I’ll be up all night thinking about it.

Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section. Comment on this story at VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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