An Ode to Exhaustion

Aditi Ramaswamy
2 min readApr 1, 2022


I tried to come up with something piquant for this month’s blog post. Really, I did. I juggled a myriad of topics and reached toward the bags and shelves of books strewn around my apartment for inspiration. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t read or string together coherent sentences, because I am tired.

Now, with less than two hours left until April, I have my topic. It’s 2022. I’ve been a real adult with a real career for two and a half years, and I’m exhausted. I exist in a maelstrom of work (I’ve got my laptop open right now), classes, and vigorous physical activity. If I am not constantly producing code or writing articles or working on my book or learning a new language or otherwise engaging in Self-Improvement, I sink into a deep mire of guilt: how dare I let myself rest for a moment, even when my feet are stuck fast in quicksand?

I am running on a racecourse which yawns into infinity, stretching over the edge of the world. I know I should stop, that it might even be healthy for me to pause and catch my breath, but I can’t. I can’t because high school and college and society in general have trepanned me into firmly believing that being exhausted to the bone is just fine and dandy as long as I’m productive. I can’t because, on many levels, I feel that I must justify my very existence – I must prove that I’m diligent enough to deserve a spot in this world.

I know I’m not alone in this, that millions upon millions of people have also been shaped into edgy nervy aspiring automatons. But this thought does not inspire hope in me. It does not inspire a renewed sense of energy. If anything, it makes me even more tired.

So this month, a quarter of the way into the year, at the quarter century mark of my life, I present to you: an ode to exhaustion. A song of burnout, a hymn to existential crises.

The show won’t be over for a long while yet.



Aditi Ramaswamy

Software engineer; emerging author; almost certainly not a changeling. I write about the uncomfortable parts of Indian & American history & culture.

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