Tag Archives: Burnout

Streak Day #28 (and some stuff about not caring)

Day twenty-seveneight. Christ. I’m getting so burned out here. Three two more days until thirty. And five more days until the end of March. No, six. Next Tuesday. Less than a week. Shit. March has thirty-one days as I’m well aware by now. I’ve never been able to recall which months have thirty-one as opposed to thirty days but if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that. March Has Thirty-One Days. I’ll never forget that fact.

Years ago I took up a project like this with running. I began January 19, 2015 and set out to run at least a mile everyday for a year. And I did it. Rain, snow, bitter cold, burning heat and humidity, day or night, sick or drunk or hungover, I ran at least a single mile everyday. I even kept going when I had my wisdom teeth removed which was totally against their recommendations, but I did it anyways. In 2015 I ran 1,236 miles over 189 hours. I kept it going in 2016 running 1,041 miles over 171 hours. This was seven days of running each year!

I kept this up until (apparently, I still have the spreadsheets I tracked everything in) February 25th, 2017, two years and a month after I started. I gave it up because it was mentally taxing to continue running everyday. I dreaded it. It wasn’t fun anymore. It didn’t feel like an accomplishment. I felt like everyday had this dread hanging over it that I had something to do — run a fucking mile — and towards the end I started doing the bare minimum. I’d run a mile slowly around the neighborhood, clocking some totally pathetic 11 or 12-minute miles. Just not giving a fuck about it until I finally threw in the towel.

In the beginning it felt like I had something I was working towards. I had a grand goal to run 365 days in a row and I was also working on training for half-marathons and actually improving my times. My first half-marathon took longer than two hours, and in the midst of my running streak I set a goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon time. I did and pulled off like a 1:40 time or something. I felt great. I felt accomplished. I went on to shave my 5k times down as well, sometimes placing in the top three of my age group. Making this adventure even more epic; I ran barefoot. Yes, barefoot. Why? Because I could. I had nothing to prove besides that it was possible. If I abused my feet enough to where I got blisters, I’d put on some Luna sandals, but nearly every run was done without footwear. The half-marathon, the 15-mile trail run at rock cut. Blistering 5k runs at a sub 7-minute mile pace. I don’t brag much but I’m definitely bragging here. I was a barefoot badass and it felt amazing.

But then I realized I was not cut out to be a runner, genetically, and that no matter how hard I worked I could never be first place or even in the top ten overall. I’m not built to be the perfect runner and no amount of practice or dedication or heart could make me run faster. There’s this thing called VO2 max that basically measures how much oxygen you can use during exercise. This is mostly determined with genetics and dictates how fast you can run. If you’re not born with exceptional VO2 max, you’re not cut out to be a runner. Sure, you can improve it somewhat, but there is a limit to how far you can go. It just isn’t physically possible if you’re not born with the genes. Once I discovered that there is some inherent limitation to what you can be as a person, albeit in terms of a physical sport, it kinda crushed my spirits. I always talk about shit like “am I born to be a writer?” or other bullshit like that, and I don’t think it applies to the arts — you can do whatever the fuck you want — but with running. Yes, you totally can be born to not be a runner. Even if you love running and it’s your passion, you’re simply not cut out to do it. It’s depressing.

I like to say I learned something from that grand adventure but I don’t think I did. If anything I learned how shitty it is trying to do something consistently everyday. It wears on you. You start to not care. You wonder what it’s all about. You wonder if your time and motivation is better spent elsewhere. I don’t have anything grand to say about feeling this way because it caused me to mostly stop running and I still have no regrets about doing so. When I stopped, suddenly I had so much more motivation. I started to write more. I started to play video games. It felt like every ounce of my being was expended daily to run a mile, and when I stopped I felt reborn in a way. Like one chapter was closed and I was ready for the next. I felt like a failure, but also like I chose to be a failure. I made a conscious decision to stop, and I did, and while there was some slight pang of regret and failure, I knew it was time.

Big rant about running aside, this is how I feel about blogging and this 30/31/33 day streak, whatever it turns out to be. I think I’ll finish March off, if I can, but I’m really starting to not give a shit. I have that same dread of waking up and forcing out a post before work. Or the dread of forcing out a post after work. I haven’t even thought about my fiction stories or the Morrowind story this week. I haven’t written in my journal .doc in three weeks. Each day is focused on thinking of a blog topic and churning it out. I feel mentally sick when I open the computer screen, the same as I felt walking outside and taking the first few lethargic steps on my mile run. But it isn’t so bad once you warm up. I’m having fun with this post, and I know I’ll have a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I tidy this thing up and post it. And I know I’ll continue on to the end of March and feel another sense of accomplishment. And then I know I won’t post more than a few posts in April. As the books I’ve been reading say, “The wheel weaves as the pattern wills.” Or something like that. Yeah.

Like with running, I’m wondering what the hell all of this is for. Am I learning anything? Am I gaining some sense of routine? Am I turning into a better writer? Am I writing more without thinking of what I’m writing? I’m getting a ton of views this month which is nice — I might break my monthly viewer record today — but is that even for anything? Is my slow decent into madness obvious to everyone that reads these or am I holding it together enough to fool people? Maybe that’s the point of this: a case-study in burnout and giving up. *big sigh* I’m rambling again and I always seem to ramble about shit like this. I don’t even recall the past three weeks of posts. What have I already talked about? What is new? Has anything been insightful? My mood today is one where I could carry on and on about everything. My antidepressants and how I’m wondering if I’ve always felt this way or if I’m somehow changed. Wondering whether this is good or bad. Pondering how March with the virus has been a great time to do this streak thing, how everything is working perfectly somehow. How I still feel trapped in limbo by something. Something about anxiety and insomnia and synesthesia. Yes, synesthesia. And cough medicine. And serotonin. Okay, I’m done with day #27. Onward!

Motivation Sucks

I always think I’ll end up writing about the same topics over and over until I simply run out of stuff to write about. A good example was that first sentence; I know I’ve already complained running out of topics a handful of times on this blog even if there hasn’t been a dedicated post about it (or has there?). And motivation, the supposed topic of this post, haven’t I already complained about that?

The way blogs work, being sorta in the social media sphere, is that people forget. I could take a post I’d written months or years ago, copy-and-paste it into a new post, and no one would notice. I’m not going to do that because it’s corrupt and shady but if there is nothing directly wrong with doing so, what would be wrong with writing about the same topics again? I doubt what I said in earlier posts is somehow fundamental truth that cannot be changed, altered, or added to so beating the same topics over and over isn’t really that big of an issue. I think I just overthink things in case you didn’t notice. There’s always the fact that life is all about learning, so each post about [certain topic] should have some insights that the previous ones didn’t have.

So motivation. My sister mentioned (and I don’t know where she heard it from) that motivation is like a muscle; you can only use it so much before it’s worn out. Makes sense, kinda simple and obvious really, but we seem to think we can muster motivation out of the ether and do whatever the hell we want/need to do with little care if we can actually accomplish our goals. You’ve heard the motivational stuff: do what needs to be done, don’t think about it, progress, hard work, goals, just fucking do it!

But there is this thing called “Burnout” that you have to be aware of. That’s my problem lately: I’m burned out with writing.

My problem isn’t going too hard at a single goal, but having the inability to focus on a single goal in the first place. I’m trying to do this blog. I’m trying to work on two fictional stories and a Morrowind fanfic. Toss in all the other random shit that life involves and I feel so scattered around mentally that I can’t even think straight. When is that Comcast bill due? Did my dad/mom pay me money for the phone bill yet? Did I even update the spreadsheet to reflect that? Did I reply to that comment on my blog yet? Did I update various autopay accounts with my new credit card number? Oh, I need to fix the car again — find problem, diagnose problem, buy parts, fix problem. What should I write about for my subconscious story? What kinda ending should it have? Nevermind that, what about the story about work? And what about the Morrowind fanfic? I need to have the next part posted today! I haven’t written on Everything Sucks in a few days, better do that even if I have nothing to write about…

This obviously leads to a type of paralysis where you can’t do anything. I want to say it’s like writer’s block, but it’s definitely different. It’s not so much that there isn’t anything to write about, it’s that I haven’t thought about anything long enough to actually finish the thought. There’s about ten blog fragments in my mind and my Google Doc is 53 pages long but nothing is solid enough to make progress on. You might’ve noticed the low-quality and sporadic (more sporadic than usual) posts here that haven’t really went anywhere. I feel like I’m limping along. I was hoping maybe I could rake in record viewers this month, but it doesn’t look like it’ll happen. Hey, #2 most viewed month isn’t that bad, right? I’ve sacrificed progress here to make progress elsewhere. It’s a zero sum game. You take from one area of creativity to put it elsewhere. Motivation is like a muscle and you can only do so much before you wear it out.

Big shout out to creative writing for especially being a motivation murder. That takes work; I used to think blogging took work, but I’ve found myself writing blogs here to procrastinate the creative writing process. Blogging is easy compared to creative writing! Who would’ve thought. Even in my scattered mental state I’m sure that I complained about that in the last post. So I won’t continue on.

And as always, thanks for listening to my rant.