"In a world of start-ups and side-hustles, have the blurred lines of work-life balance changed the meaning of leisure time? As WeWork offices replace Midtown New York's historic Lord & Taylor department store, The New York Times examines how work has replaced personal pleasure in the pursuit of escapism: "With the rise of the internet, shopping came to look like work, and work, in many instances, came to look like leisure..." - From The WWClub.com
When reading this yesterday on thewwclub.com, I was struck with a deep sense of sadness. Yes- this is what I've been feeling- the discomfort and disappointment of making your passion a career, and loosing the places where you can escape and find refuge. For so many years of my life, ARTmaking was where I did this. I'd sit and draw in my sketchbook at the beach or at the park. I recall giggling at the characters that would appear on the page: new friends.
But that changed. I got a full time job as an illustrator.
I started doing yoga a few years ago because it was the only world I could walk into where I didn't have to do anything except "be". I was a full time illustrator , working for a startup in the Sillycon Valley. I felt myself wanting to scream some days. There was this pressure to perform and to also retain my own sense of who I was an an artist. The two conflicted and took over all my waking time.
Since freelancing in 2017, I've eased off on my yoga practice and focused the majority of my energy and finances on building a business around my immense love of art and illustration. But this made it worse.
I can relate all to well with Rebecca Green's post about burnout
I asked some friends on Twitter about burnout. What do you do to remedy this thing? They responded with suggestions like, extra self care, Netflix, and not doing the thing that burned you out.
One might find self care difficult when the places you used to go to have a sign with "Work" spelt on it, staring right back at you like a "No Tresspassers" sign. I was always one to follow the rules, too. Learning to tear that sign off and make it sacred again is a practice that stirs up a lot of resistance and struggle, and therefore, fails to calm and sooth the heart that needs it so.
Scheduling time to experiment as an artist is important. Having a personal project that no one else in art directing is beneficial, and will keep you pushing through the drudge that seems to settle in some days. I'm starting to do this. But I still want to scream at my desk.
The most important part of healing, is sharing your feelings and experiences, and taking action to change. Support groups are effective because they allow you to empty out stuck emotion, and encourage your own personal path to whatever it is you need next. And if they don't do this, they we usually ditch the group and look for something else. And that still pushes us to along our path.
So I'm looking for support groups I will need to do something other than art for pleasure, at least for a while. I need more hikes, more singing in the shower, and less time being productive. This scares the hell out of me, but I must follow through. A question floats around... If I'm not productive, am I a nothing?
We shall see.
How have you taken steps to gain back our lust for life? I'd love to know, and I'm sure the more we share, the more we can tap into what will heal us forward.