Burnout, grief, and perseverance

Today I spent most of the day working on the Sacred Bow challenge from Leo Babauta. This challenge is part questionnaire and reflection based on what happened with the previous year. It's a challenge that I enjoy doing because it not only reminds me of things that I've done but also reminds me of areas where I can improve. This year was a challenging one for me.

There were victories:

  • I helped organize an entire gaming track for Virtual Penguicon in less than two months and brought together a unique panel of participants and folks I admire from all over the globe.
  • I recommended two guests of honor for Virtual Penguicon and both accepted (my amazing and talented friend David Revoy and my childhood hero and continued design inspiration Chris Crawford).
  • I did a talk with Beau Jagr Sheldon (a game designer I admire) at Penguicon about solo gaming and got to meet Leonard Balsera (another game designer I admire) also at Penguicon.
  • My parents moved from their house of ~40 years into a smaller space, and I spent all summer helping them.
  • I made things happen related to my parent's move, including moving two arcade machines and a piano
  • I made some progress with my design projects and started new projects.
  • I played several games online and had great chats with other designers when the games didn't pan out
  • I attended five gaming conventions: Gencon, Origins Online, Big Bad Con, Metatopia, and U-Con

But there were some struggles:

  • I burned out several times during the year, both from overwhelm and exhaustion.
  • I had my 50th birthday, which got me thinking in terms of milestones and things that I hadn't accomplished yet and the resultant depression
  • I lost the spark for several of my projects
  • I got rid of several games and companies from my life because I could no longer support them
  • I canceled any involvement I had with the FSF over their reinstatement of RMS
  • I watched as the unity of the pandemic disappeared in a cloud of greed
  • I watched as JoDee had to go back to work in an unsafe environment (and continues to do so)

2021 has been challenging. The emotions that keep coming up are exhaustion and grief. Exhaustion because there were a lot of moving parts to this year (both literal and metaphorical) and grief because I said goodbye to so many things that used to give me joy and inspired me.

But there's also perseverance. One muscle group I've exercised a lot over these years is the muscles for getting back up and getting back into the fray.

I'll have more about the Sacred Bow in the coming weeks, but for now I wanted to acknowledge the feelings of grief, exhaustion, and perseverance.

Ever onward.