I’m exhausted. Not just the super tired, spend a day on the couch exhausted…I’m talking about burnout. Full-on. Burnt. Toast.
I’m not really surprised though—I’ve not taken a proper holiday for going on 8 years. Not that I really knew how to vacation before that, either. As a Midwestern kid, work was how you showed value and was a way to feel accomplished. Sure, there were some really good summers spent by someone’s pool or in the U.P. but, since college, I’ve either been working an actual job or doing several summer hustles.
Prior to the pandemic, that felt normal…I mean it had to. As an educator, money is never really in abundance and it feels good to work. At least it did. In recent months, I’ve begun to really reflect on what my life is without work; about how my engrained need to be working or productive is really beneficial to my overall wellbeing or if it is related to a greater societal issue. Probably, both. That’s why I go to therapy.
Yet, before I could really make any real decisions, my body made them for me…and it’s yelling at me that I need a break. As I’ve started the tenure and promotion process at my university, I’ve felt a significant change in the weight of how I feel. The bleak freedom of knowing that no matter what I do in this upcoming year, none of it will have impact on that decision (mostly). It’s oddly freeing…and that doesn’t feel right.
In a society that lifts the bar higher for every person that climbs over it and that bar has no concrete footing, abstraction leads to uncertainty. Panic. Stress. We’ve created all of it. Ultimately, I think all of us have an inner desire to create to help others to learn but we’ve coopted these pleasures and spoilt them with the need to be productive. It’s draining. Exhausting.
It’s not a society that I want to perform for,
But where is the off ramp?
And I know this newsletter is like 90% of me telling you all the stuff I’ve been doing and will be doing. It’s maybe a part of the problem.
So I’m taking a break. Not for good. Just through August.
I’m taking space. To read. To rest. To rebel.