Burnout is a Real Thing.
I’m a person who prides myself on listening well, being able to understand and empathize with other people’s lifes. But I’m still not great at listening about my own.
After the third close friend told me “I think you’re probably burnt out. Maybe take a weekend off?” I thought, “hunh. That sounds familiar. Maybe they have a point.”
My desperate line of questioning with one friend was most telling:
Her: “I think you should consider doing nothing this weekend” Me: “You’re totally right. I’ll just do my writing stuff.” Her: “No writing.” Me: “K. Fine. I can work on my Spanish, though, right?” Her: “No.” Me: “Explore?” Her: “No.” Me: “Umm, what about…” Her: “No personal development of any kind. No improving. No learning. No going, no pushing, no expanding, nothing. Just accomplish nothing.” Me: “Sure, but what about..” Her: “No.”
I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it enough that I ended up thinking about it, over and over. In the shower. Walking to dinner. At night. If I wasn’t allowed to work, write, think about Ink & Feet, learn Spanish, study the local culture, or try to improve myself in any way, what the hell was I supposed to do?
The answer, as it turns out, found itself. Brain-dead on Saturday night, my body took the reins, walked out the door, picked up some pizza and quality beers, and then sat my ass down on the couch.
I stayed up until 3am watching the NBA playoffs and random sports videos on youtube. I haven’t watched basketball in years. I never watch youtube. The next day I went for a run, cleaned the house, and watched more basketball.
On Monday, I woke up feeling better than I have my entire time here in Mexico. My spastic, frenetic thoughts that I’d found waiting in every morning’s mindfulness practice was gone. The calm I had in Thailand was back.
I walked out into the city later that afternoon, and found an entirely different city. Open and smiling and wonderful.
Me, finally, here with it.