The Culture of Burnout

When I was in college, my friend nicknamed me Magellen, the explorer. I loved to delve into emotions, moments, experiences, adrenaline and have an adventure. I loved finding and meeting new people and seeing the world from their perspective.  Life was a continual adventure.

Fast forward a decade, a mortgage, a marriage, children, suburbia, and schedules for soccer and art and I sometimes feel like Wordsworth writes “the world is too much” with me. I lose my spark, my chutzpah. I see the open road and all I can see is how much packing it might take to have an adventure instead of a blank slate of endless possibilities that might be ahead. It is in these moments that I realize I am in burnout.  I need to step back…I need to rediscover Magellen, with the giddyness of an open road, and the not knowing where it leads me but just excited to be on it.

Several weeks ago, I was definitely being buried in life…but not all the fun parts of it…not in the parts that make me excited to be living. So I snuck downtown, to the independent theater, bought myself some rich european treats, talked with strangers who love film and then settled in to live in another’s shoes. The first movie blew me away for so many reasons, the emotional conflict, the silence so filled with words screaming to be heard and the moral conflicts that often run so deep. In fact, I liked the experience so much, I left the theater and went back to the box office for round two. The ticket man smiled at me knowingly, “Need some more huh?” I smiled and he waved me through for another round of walking in someone else’s shoes.

Sometimes, I need moments like that. Moments that reboot me and refocus me on what I really want out of life. I really like what Arianna Huffington had to say,  “’Restore connection’ is not just for devices, it is for people too. If we cannot disconnect, we cannot lead. Creating the culture of burnout is opposite to creating a culture of sustainable creativity.” — Arianna Huffington,Huffington Post

So in our culture of burnout, how do you reboot yourself? Do you ever disconnect so you can more fully reconnect?

Leave a Reply