Monday, November 27, 2006

sweet hereafter

A few years ago my older brother and I sat down for a beer at a bar in town. We were both at what we'd call a "pinnacle". We use terms like that when we're feeling quite reflective. We drink a beer together or he'll sip on scotch and smoke a cigar and we'll just talk like two adults rather than two grown up kids - which are what siblings really each other.

"If you think about it," he said. "You and I have accomplished quite a lot for our ages."

It was true at the time. Oren has always accomplished a lot. He's in the military for chrissakes, every week he's got a new rank. I was twenty two and managing a sales crew of 20 + at an internet company. When I thought about it, it was quite the lofty job. I did a lot of work, long days, sometimes 18 hours. I was involved with work. Oren said we had a lot of time left to make the most out of. The next day I enrolled in a business college and later transferred to a regular University.

Here's the thing...if I'm really honest. I just don't have it in me to care about much lately. I don't have it in me to get up in the morning with a sense of optimism. I don't have it in me to think there's going to be some successful end to a journey of school and work and writing articles on local country swing bands and machine shops. I don't even have it in me to be much of a friend. Although I do it. But I hate it. Everyday. I want things to stop being challenging and start working out. I want things to be easy.

Reading this article on burnout, I can't help but relate 100%. It makes me feel somewhat better. Maybe I'm not in the throes of a wicked depression or some sort of quarterlife crisis. Maybe I'm just burnt out.

So I start reflecting.... I spent a large chunk of my time at a company that I devoted myself to. Eventually politics won over personal preference and I stopped working hard to please someone I thought a mentor. Later, I left for what I thought would be a good career move. Copywriting at a start-up. But that quickly went sour when checks wouldn't cash and the boss disappeared on pay day. I spent a year unemployed...not wanting to start over until I had to.

And now that I have, nothing is the same. I don't want to dedicate myself again. To anything. Places or people. I can't seem to throw myself into work or school or even people. The article states, "...any one of the following six problems can fry us to a crisp: working too much; working in an unjust environment; working with little social support; working with little agency or control; working in the service of values we loathe; working for insufficient reward (whether the currency is money, prestige, or positive feedback)." Check each one off the list and get me a padded room.

At 22 I thought I could ride my wave of drive and ambition to some sort of sweet hereafter. But now, four years later, I'm tired. I don't want to try anymore. I guess in a way, I do...but I can't. I don't have it in me anymore. I'm hoping there's a cure for burnout (I haven't finished the article yet). But my brain is too burnt out to know if it will inspire me into a second wind.

I do miss my inspiration. My drive. My focus and my ambition. I find myself wishing I could go back. I'd settle for moving forward.


Kimberley said...

maybe this is why?!

Jessica said...

No shit...I figured that out, lol.