Thursday, May 18, 2017

                         
BURNED OUT/BUMMED OUT?

     I have made a recent discovery that has given me pause. It’s not that watering the plants more often keeps them from drooping or changing the water in my flower vase every other day keeps the flowers fresh longer. No, but there is a correlation, actually. When we get tired of watering the plants and changing the water, things die. Maybe we don’t care, but if we do, we recognize that it takes effort to keep things fresh. I sometimes burn out, and often when that happens, it makes me sad, even depressed. Recently, however, I have found that I am burning out of some things, and I am not at all sad or depressed—I’m simply burned out. No little stubborn flames, no smoldering ash—just done. Well, maybe a flicker here or there, and that’s the rub.

     I have been in a certain organization off and on for over 30 years. I have served as President of two chapters and have truly enjoyed every moment of my tenure. I have made some wonderful friends and have learned more than I could have ever imagined. But I could be done. The question is, “Am I done?” Yes, I’m burned out right now, but if I don’t spend all the time participating in this organization which takes not only time and energy, but courage, what will I do to replace it in my life? Where will I find the challenges this organization offers me and the opportunities it has given me to grow both intellectually and socially?

     I am a Performance Addict. If I am not working toward a performance, I am lost. Preparing several months, often an entire year, takes discipline, sacrifice, hard work, patience, stamina and a huge amount of emotional energy. I love the process of preparing my programs, but the pressure is there every day when I wake up. Will this program be as good as the last one? Will the script engage the audience? Will my music inspire and touch souls? Can I cover up the mistakes? Can I make people laugh and cry? This is a lot of pressure for a woman of a certain age, but this also keeps me sharp and young. The process fuels my soul and buoys my self-confidence in more than just the performance. Yes, I am feeling burned out, but if I abandon this yearly project, with what will I replace it that will give me the daily sense of satisfaction and accomplishment? What can I do that will touch lives and give me an identity?  Burned out or bummed out that I have nothing unique to offer the world or to shore my self-esteem.?

     When we are burned out, what are our choices?  Quit whatever it is. Take a break. Reboot and reframe it. Take the idea and turn it into something else equally as rewarding. Find other things to replace it. 

    If I were 40, no problem. If I were 50 or 60, no question. But I am getting up there, and I don’t know how long my health and stamina will hold up. Can I do all this into my 90s? If I’m healthy, absolutely. Health is a crap shoot. Every day, a friend or acquaintance gets diagnosed with some horrible disease. Someone else has to have something replaced. People are getting tired, cranky, cynical. I don’t want any of this, obviously. Who does? But it happens, and sometimes it comes out of nowhere. I have just dodged a few minor bullets, but there are some larger ones threatening, and I feel like I have to hurry up before I can’t do what I was meant to do:  use the talent God has so graciously given me to create and, hopefully, inspire.


   Burned out or bummed out? Hmmm.