With twenty-one days left of twenty-sixteen, a recap is in order before I blow the lights out on it. I find myself experiencing a block when it comes to creativity on all fronts – including writing – so Bambi’s Soapbox will be on hiatus until 2017, after revisiting Barcelona for a week.
After joining the family empire last year, the borders of my professional and personal life are now blurred to the max. I leave the store only to go home and have dinner with my bosses, discuss orders, and be reminded of a task I haven’t started. Even when away from my desk, my today-at-work stories involve my parents and the most exciting news I have to share is an arrival of limited edition Oreos. I do feel a sense of accomplishment when introducing brands to the market here; I slave away to find winners and playing brand manager & creative simultaneously is as satisfying as it is exhausting.
The thing that’s toughest about that scenario? The noise. Internally. Incessant mental knock-knock of thought. It’s like having your identical twin poke at your temples for 6 hours straight, laugh, and then do it for another 6. You always have to be on, ready to compose an email, pitch an idea, or recommend a solution. And because our kitchen is also a conference room, there’s no SPACE where the brain can decompress. Running was my safe haven and the Christmas season has deprived me of that. I can feel the tightness of burnout creeping back into the ball of my neck.
2016, the Year of Realizing Stuff
I have yet to learn where my tipping point is when it comes to stress levels as I have reached burnout multiple times and doubt that it won’t happen again in the new year. I do know, however, that the burnout isn’t exclusively linked to the amount of work but more to the nature of it.
I miss being a full-time maker. I miss production shoots. I miss having lead and ink-stained fingers after getting lost in sketching. A masters workshop in Rome had me hand-lettering at 3am surrounded by a Prosecco bottle and pencil shavings. I signed up for it because I needed to create beyond that of an orange shopping cart. Alas, one workshop a year is not enough. It is not a passion I have cut out enough energy for.
I have yet to fall in love with Beirut again but that’s because I never fell out of love with her in the first place. But I do feel like this relationship hasn’t been one of equals. When will you start to love me back?
I met people who made me indirectly question where I’m at, further convincing me that sometimes you cross paths with others briefly and their sole purpose is to give you a wake-up call, a shove, or a shake. You get comfortable; then, X punches a hole in your autopilot so you can go back into manual.
Is this what I want? Where am I going?
I haven’t seen the light because the end of the tunnel keeps moving with every recalibration. I will optimistically say that I’ve been hitting the bumper instead of rolling into the gutter but where I’ll hit next is what keeps me up at night.
This year has shown me nothing except this (which also happens to be an anthem dad recites on repeat): time is our most limited resource. Whether it’s the time we need to strike through lines of our to-do lists, the time that evaporates under jasmine vines in Jbeil, or the time that we want to freeze because the porcelain plates of our existence are spinning in unison on stilts and if we stand still, nothing will fall and nothing will flee. Time is what we will always want but never be easily granted.
Three weeks left.
Take your time.