Thoughts: Can you burn out on living a safe life?

Photo by Finding Dan | Dan Grinwis on Unsplash

A cheerful smile paints my lips while melancholy brews inside. Just returned from one of the best vacations. No new significant disasters to tie me in knots of worry. Why does life seem dull and gloomy? Why am I tired of living?

A wise friend said I lived a “safe” life. She came from a different perspective that I am yet, but her observation made me pause. Can you burn out living life? Or burn out living a safe life?

My day is my own. What I do throughout the day depends on my perception of stress. Through the sub-conscience, my body and mind communicate to eliminate as much stress as possible. I set the schedule and do whatever I want. Read the paper both online and in print. I tweet and piss people off before getting out of bed. Get up when I’m ready. Not much to look forward to in the day. I wear athletic clothes expecting to work-out — whether I do or not affects my mood. It’s my choice to tackle an item on the growing To-Do list. My mantra is to avoid stress at all cost. For my peace of mind, I avoid answering calls or responding to emails or texts. Sometimes, I have no choice–like when I run out of blood pressure medications. Day slips into night, and it’s again time for sleep. I am never quite sure of the day since the day’s natural cycle flow like the air we breathe.

I’m fortunate and should express gratitude. I should thank the universe for its generosity and patience. I don’t because I forget and am too exhausted. The To-Do List I avoid is the key to moving on. It hangs in front of me like a noose threatening to squeeze every breath of life from me. And it will one day. Despite various strategies and tactics, I continue to spin my wheels. The list gets longer and my panic attacks and flashbacks more intense when I think about the list.

Early retirement came as a surprise. However, I was burning out on the job. Now I feel burnt out living life–“safe” life in isolation. Here should be the opportunity to explore my dreams– do what I desire. I am as free as I ever will be. Why am I too exhausted to appreciate this? Why do I bitch so much?

Age is a factor. I’m older and no longer able to get up and go as I once did. I didn’t lay the groundwork when I was younger now I’m too old and too weak to have dreams. What if I lived off the grid–disappeared? I ‘d miss my children. It’s time to suck it up, get out of bed and welcome the day.

What do you do when you need help but don’t know how to ask? Or what to ask? What do you do when you feel a piece of you die each day?

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

12 thoughts on “Thoughts: Can you burn out on living a safe life?

  1. From what I learned from communicating with my clients, I had to conclude: Burn-out caused by work is a myth, used by people as an excuse for not admitting it was based in private matters.

    A to do list? Grrrr. Dump that thing soonest.

    “Why do I bitch so much?” Because you love it. Well……um…….maybe also as a surrogate for what you don’t dare to do and/or as a lightning rod to get rid of piled up energy the Universe has forced upon you.

    “……..The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” A bit melodramatic to me, but at least Cousins knew what was living inside him. Do you? (Yes, I know, this is repeat business. We exchanged thoughts about this many times.) Primal knowledge/wisdom rings a bell?

  2. Now you’re mid-life, Angela, you have two options: either (1) waste what you made as a young adult (eg. home, family, career and earnings) by wasting time procrastinating and seeking validation from others (most of whom are too busy to help even if they would want to) or, (2), utilise those stalwarts to re-invent yourself to find fulfilment in ways that don’t require youthful energy but more the wisdom you’ve attained.

    As looking for others for validation (which we extraverts and thus narcissistically-inclined keep on doing despite very little response), is I think your greatest weakness online, therefore I suggest/advise you to now fully focus on getting satisfaction rearing your grandson and/or even yet making your #EngagedEnvironments enterprise work. He has say another 15 years needing guidance and protection, and fifteen years is around what you have left before old age makes earning a living very difficult, so now do those. Then, in your last decade(s) you can feel justified to spend your days as you presently do.

    Go do it! Restart….

    1. Hi Pete, Thank you for your concern. I appreciate your advice. As Roald said I do enjoy bitching at times. I also like to blog. Being online keeps me connected to people with shared values. It’s been my lifeline, remember where I lived.

      I was a single working mom who raised two children without much support from anyone. I love my grandson; however, I don’t think I should base my future on parenting him. He has a mother, a father and a supportive extended family that includes me. I will be part of his life, but I desire a life of my own. Why should I wait 15 years to do as I please? Like you I need to find a way to make money so I can be self-supportive when I get older. I think I am blacklisted here.

  3. Angela all I want to contribute to this conversation is don’t give up! Some the feelings you expressed I felt too! Maybe taking a course or two at a community college might help or doing some volunteer work! You might run into someone that can connect to a paying job that you might like on a part time basis. Don’t forget to thank the universe but as you know I can think of someone else you should thank! Shalom Angela!

  4. I do understand the burnout sometimes and stress can really get you. One thing is to be grateful for the blessings in your life. Sometimes gives more insight on what divinity need out of your life. Also prayer and mediation helps as well, it clears the mind.

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