Good Tired and Bad Tired – Harry Chapin

Harry Chapin was a singer-songwriter and he had this to say about his grandfather.

My grandfather was a painter. He died at age eighty-eight, he illustrated Robert Frost’s first two books of poetry, and he was looking at me and he said, “Harry, there’s two kinds of tired. There’s good tired and there’s bad tired.” He said, “Ironically enough, bad tired can be a day that you won. But you won other people’s battles; you lived other people’s days, other people’s agendas, other people’s dreams. And when it’s all over, there was very little you in there. And when you hit the hay at night, somehow you toss and turn; you don’t settle easy.

It’s that good tired, ironically enough, can be a day that you lost, but you don’t even have to tell yourself because 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 say ‘take me away’”. He said, “Harry, all my life I wanted to be a painter and I painted; God, I would have loved to have been more successful, but I painted and I painted and I’m good tired and they can take me away.”

This note manages to be beautiful, poignant and inspirational all at once. To me, it speaks to the power of the struggle for a cause that we feel strongly about. The wins and other such results hardly every matter. It is all about the process. It is all about giving it our best shot every day. As Anton Chekov said – “Any idiot can face a crisis – it is day to day living that wears you out.”

Here’s to being good tired this week.

HT – The Steger family – thank you for sharing.

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