Posted on Apr 23rd, 2006

At the end of each day, are you able to relax, knowing you had spent part of your day on worthwhile things?

If you don’t like your answer to the question above, well, you’re definitely not the only one.

In our fast-paced world, it is incredibly easy to get caught up in just getting through each day. No wonder we rarely stop to consider if what we are doing is worthwhile.

Consider the words of the late I singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, speaking about his grandfather:

"My grandfather was a painter. He died at age 88. He illustrated Robert Frost’s first two books of poetry. He was looking at me one day and he said, `Harry, there’s two kinds of tired. There’s goodtired and there’s bad-tired. Ironically enough, bad-tired can be a day in which you won, but you won other people’s battles, you lived other people’s days, other people’s agendas and dreams, and when it’s all over, there’s very litte you in there, and when you hit the hay at night, you toss and turn, you don’t settle easy.

Good-tired, ironically enough, can be a day in which you lost, but you knew you fought your battles, you chased your dreams, you lived your days. And when you hit the hay at night, you settle easy, you sleep the sleep of the just, and you can say, "Take me away."

Harry, all my life I wanted to be a painter. So I painted. God, I would have loved to have been more successful. But I painted and painted. And I am good-tired, and they can take me away."

Sounds like a life well-lived.

Signs of Bad Tired

• A constant feeling of "one step up and two steps back" (to quote Bruce Springsteen).

• A growing sense of futility.

• A feeling akin to this one: "Our souls are leaking. We are in a recession and we are receding." Bad-tired makes you feel you have lost something at the end of each day.

Signs of Good-Tired

• You have a passion for what you are doing.

• Each day or week brings with it a sense of contribution, even if only in some small way.

• Do what you love. If you do what you love, good-tired comes easy. You spend your working day doing things you would enjoy even if you were not paid for them (I recommend keeping that a secret, though)

Bad tired or good tired? How would you like to end your day?

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