I must be in need of a vacation. Though you might not get that impression from reading this blog on a day-to-day basis, my life is funky with the symptoms of burnout. (And posts like this are what you get of me trying to solve some of that by getting up earlier each morning to find time to write.)
Exhibit A: Running
Here I go again, blaming the injury. Remember when I ratcheted my back into a state of immobility for a few weeks there back in May and June? Has it been that long. I mean, sure, I’ve logged a lot of quasi-inspirational klicks in the months since, basically fully recovered, and I often go hours or days, even, without recalling that month of constant pain that side-lined me, caused me to miss my clinic race, and broke my stride both literally and figuratively. But there is something more: there is a purpose and a spirit in the heart of the sport that is still scuffed and bruised, and I haven’t pulled that back into shape, fully, completely. I lace up, get out there and run, but my goal races are so far off, my life so bumpy, overheated, and scattered it seems, that its largely for show and mostly out of guilt.
dragging my butt along the corporate streets
Exhibit B: Work
Do you ever get that feeling you’re doing the bare minimum to get by? I do a lot lately. I go to meetings. I work on projects. I process tickets from our queue. And I get things done. But that sense of satisfaction that comes from pushing the metaphorical boundary of ‘so-so work’ into ‘awesome work’… that’s just not there. That sense of pride or enjoyment that occasionally blossoms from a job well done… its feet are wallowing ankle-deep in the mud of cynicism. Admittedly, I probably should have taken a week off after that giant, draining, mind-bending project I launched a few months ago, rather than stroll back in and wander onto the next challenge with some drained batteries… but alas, I didn’t and here I am, mid-summer, dragging my butt along the corporate streets.
Exhibit C: Words & Pictures
Arguably, I’ve had a prolific couple of months with this blog and my camera. That said, if you are an avid reader you may have noticed a big shift in the style of posts here since, say, May. I ploughed through that every-day-in-June-thing, but I think I used up the last few fumes in the mental tank getting to the end. It’s been a chore –and don’t ask why I keep writing it then, because I don’t have a rational answer besides maybe: why does a desperately lost man keep trying to light a fire even when he’s out of matches, kindling, and it’s pouring rain on his head– yet, I keep on. My posts have been short, status-like, with a lot of photos. I write here –started, continued, and perpetually write here– because it is like a brain dump and a public therapy session rolled into one. Plus, it makes me feel productive. Yet the deep stuff, the meaningful, thoughtful, reflective writing has been sparse at best.
for each person, that “so many” is a different “so many”
Exhibit D: Willpower
‘Nuf said? Well, ok… so, I’ve heard, but don’t quote me on it, that your brain has this kinda reserve of willpower. You can put up with only so much, make only so many will-full positive decisions –though for each person, that “so many” is a different “so many”– until you are drained and then you make bad decisions: you snack when you shouldn’t, stay up later that is good for you, skip runs, and generally say “meh” to important things. I’m not lacking willpower, I just feel like I run out a lot sooner than I used to these days.
Exhibit E: Friends
I’m probably a terrible friend. At least from this funk-ridden perspective it very much seems so. I mean, I rarely visit people anymore. I miss social events, sometimes because I suck and sometimes because I can’t be bothered getting out of my chair and moving to a different location. I haven’t had someone over to our house in months, despite the fact that it’s “our turn” to host for almost every name on our dance card. I probably brag too much on social media, though like everyone else I only really post the awesomeness… and the blah is more-or-less invisible. And then I don’t reply to texts or emails as promptly, or sometimes at all, as would be deemed socially prudent. We’re all busy, yeah, and coordinating schedules is tough, but if no one is making an effort, well to each of us it probably seems like just-us is not making an effort. And that’s a tough weight on the ol’ shoulders.
Pessimistic vent, complete…
So, now what are the solutions? I don’t know for sure, but I think (given that I just depressed every one of my readers with a deflating, mind-breaking rant on my quasi-depressive state) I should at least jump back into that previously alluded to public therapy session mode. I think I’m going to at least try to do a few things on this list.
1) Take a vacation. Technically since this is planned, booked, and just waiting to launch for sometime in not-exactly-near but impending future… uh… check!
2) Start a workout program. Running has made my heart and my lungs strong, but that injury woke me up to the need for something broader: when #1 is complete, #2 is kicking into gear a three-times-per-week strength training regimen as strict as my running schedule. Weights. Core. Y’know… gym grunts.
3) Start a photo club. Nothing too formal, but I know there a few friends and readers of this blog who would be game for a scheduled, say once-per-month, by-invite photo walk somewhere interesting in or out of the city. Don’t all put your hands up at once, now.
it’s time to get serious and stop pissing around
4) A big project. Something my own, something with words and code and images and art, that could maybe be a business or just an awesome hobby. I’ve nudged a few of these over the years, but I think it’s time to get serious and stop pissing around.
5) Early to bed, early to rise. For at least a couple months, I want to keep up the 5am wake-up call. Yeah, it means going to be a little earlier too, but for the last week I’ve been fitting it into my life and I’ve got some extra writing done (case-in-point: this post) and have been feeling a lot less rushed and a wee bit more balanced each morning.
And for now at least, that should be enough. I guess. I hope. Does anyone want to play along? After all, how are you doing? Am I just floating out here in sapped-motivation-land alone, or what?