I think one of the reasons I haven’t be blogging lately is that I feel like a broken record.
No time, fatigue, stress, burnout, beat until frothy and place in 350 degree oven.
I get tired of saying it. There are few thing in the world a hate like I hate self-pity. Those who put themselves in a situation and then bitch; those who won’t take action to solve a problem.
But when I try to write, what comes to mind first is, how completely fucked up I feel right now. To the point that in blots out all other thought.
I look back at my last year’s blogging and in between tattoo posting and links to porn, humor, music and art, I find the interconnections all have the same theme. Burnout.
So I’m trying to figure out why it is I feel that way. It’s not that I’m working that hard right now – in fact, I’m not really getting much done at all. But I feel, for the first time since I joined apple nine years ago (almost to the day), like my job is dragging me down into quicksand.
My life is organized around my greatest strengths. What I do is solve problems. I didn’t have any grand plan for a career, so I derive what my career has been only by looking back at it. And to a one, the jobs I seek, or create, or thrust into, all have that thread. I’m not a projects guy, I don’t do organization and follow-through well. What I do, though, is look at systems and see the flaws, the missing pieces, the inefficiencies. My life also seems to follow that pattern. The people to whom I’ve been most drawn are broken in some fundamental way. Not that they need help, per se, but that they have some vast physical, mental or character deficiency
The cost of all that, of course, is that I put myself into broken systems, and being that I can’t stand things that are broken, I strive fix them, often via sheer brute force. I become the link that holds the chain together, and I’m the strongest link, because I tolerate no less of myself. But to steal a line from genesis and a hundred others, we’re only as strong, As the weakest link in the chain. So no matter how strong I make my one link, the chain will always fail elsewhere.
Chaos is the default state of the universe. We impose order for a while; but only will and energy can maintain it. Living things are a system slightly more organized than the baseline chaos of an ecosystem; an ecosystem is a system slightly more organized than the universe. Only man’s mind can create and maintain a system more tightly and carefully organized than biological organisms, and only constant thought can produce the ongoing effort that maintains such systems.
Thing want to fall apart; buildings want to fall down. Computers want to fail.
Due to inherent aptitude, genetic inheritance, and the way I was raised, I feel a great compulsion to hold that line against chaos. When I think if it, it turns into an almost cartoonish vision of some Moorcockian champion of order (where’s my black fucking sword? Where’s my companion and his winged cat?). But the reality of it isn’t as much fun; I won’t have another incarnation to continue the fight; I can’t call another version of myself for help through some portal in the multiverse.
I do this alone. Not because there’s no help, but because I can’t stand help that isn’t absolutely under my control and on my terms. Help, when I ask for it, has to be exactly the help I need and no more.
The cost of this is that I put myself in situations where I’m absolutely vital, and absolutely irreplaceable. Not only at work, but everywhere in my life, I have vast lists of things that need to be done, and in ways that no one else I see around me can handle. Because solutions have to do more than solve a problem; they have to strike blow against encroaching chaos.
That battle seems to get harder each year. I don’t know if it’s simply the natural progression of the world, the inherent growth of a system over time. I don’t know if it’s that life, inevitably, grows more complex as one acquires more things, builds investments, raises children. Or if it’s the inevitable fact of age. To steal another line,as soon as we’re born we start dying. But it isn’t linear; it accelerates with time, picking up speed with each round of auld lang syne.
Whatever it is, more and more of late my mind is full of the maddening minutiae of life, the crushing weight of task lists that grow only longer. And I find, at the end of days which flash by ever faster, that I have nothing in that part of my mind that yearns to put words together in creative ways. It’s easier to reach for a beer and the remote control. Because when I reach for my computer, nothing comes out but the same worn and blacked refrain about time and burnout.