Persistence can be a superpower. It’s more important than talent or mastery. I struggle with being consistent, because my mind slips into boredom quite easily. It’s why being a nebulous “writer” is good for me. There’s always a new topic to explore, always a new idea to mull over. The world is full of things for me to examine and discuss. Even so, I can see the stats. I see what does well. I know what is most likely to get me clicks. I do feel pressure to keep hitting that button. That content is how most of my readers found me. Have I formed some sort of contract with them to keep discussing difficult political issues even though I can feel it taking a toll on me?
I recently had a rewarding conversation with a lifelong activist, and we discussed burnout. I’m not an activist. I’m not built for it. My role is to observe and write about what I see, hopefully in a way that helps other people wrestle with issues I’m often struggling with myself. I don’t like what I’m looking at much of the time. Watching simultaneous large-scale institutional failures happen internationally is pretty terrifying. The worst part of it all is watching smart people be stupid. People who know better refuse to do better, because of some bizarre calculus of short-term personal reward. There’s a lot of buck-passing and ass-covering happening. There isn’t a whole lot of courage on display. It’s beyond depressing. I’ve always struggled to understand how some of the horrors of history happened. Not anymore. All the limp cringing that allowed it is playing out right in front of us even though the parallels are so clear it’s downright parodic. Irony and satire are dead. Reality is too absurd to lampoon.
I don’t like the rage I feel. I think it’s unhealthy. It’s animating, and, when well-focused, and it can produce some good prose. Constantly being at a seethe can’t be good for my blood pressure, though. Over the past month or so, I haven’t produced that much content for that reason. I need to find some way to better balance and manage the upheaval. I will stay the course, but probably in a different manner. The emotional exhaustion so many of us feel is part of the plan. Our outrage tanks are running on fumes. Giving into despair and apathy isn’t an option. That means pacing ourselves for the long haul. We have to outlast them. I’m still trying to figure out how to do that. I’m not sure what direction to take my writing in, but I fully intend to keep sharing more.