Burnout, Hong Kong, and non-Pinteresty “Creative Spaces”

What happens when you burnout doing what you love? I’m not talking about work, I’m talking about life. I don’t hate life, I don’t think I feel depressed, I’m just…tired. And easily annoyed. Tired of the lack of organization, annoyed by the traffic, tired of dealing with the daily cultural nuances, annoyed with advice on how to make it allll better. In the past, the way to make it allll better was a few days away. After a day or two, we would miss being here, and would come back refreshed and ready to face life again.

We haven’t had any sort of vacation for far too long, so we decided to go to Hong Kong for five days. Andrew and I saw it as a cool opportunity to take photos; I was amped to do some blog posts, excited to tell about how refreshed and happy and shiny we were now that we had a lovely vacation. Well, I’m sorry to report that while our vacation was just what we needed, it may have been too little, too late. Instead of being ready to return after a few days, we forced ourselves onto the plane headed back to the Philippines, like a couple of mopey kids being dragged away from a birthday party.

So, our Big Plan for recovery went something like this:

Expectation: We went to Hong Kong. We would have tailored suits made for Dan and Andrew. We would take tons of awesome pictures. We would come home all better. I would comfortably sit in my brand new office/creative space/writing studio that is not quite pinterest worthy yet…and get super inspired. I would write blog after blog about Hong Kong, my newfound love for life, and pure awesomeness about my life overseas.

Reality: We went to Hong Kong. Absolutely loved it. For real. Felt better than we have in a long time. Got cool suits made for the guys. We took a few pictures…and they are OK. I guess there is truth to the adage, “the cobbler’s kids wear no shoes”. The photographer doesn’t take pictures on vacation. We begrudgingly came home, and were annoyed by the traffic within about 10 minutes of leaving the airport, and have pretty much been annoyed ever since. Not something I’m proud of. For the past three weeks I’ve sat in my cool new office/creative space/writing studio that is still not pinterest worthy, and I haven’t written anything except some ramblings in a notebook. I’m pretty sure it’s because my cool space isn’t cool enough. Beyond that, I’ve spent my “creative time” watching TV reruns and playing Candy Crush. And trying to figure out how the heck to move forward.

I know it’s comparing apples and oranges, but Hong Kong is a different world. It’s clean. It’s organized. Believe it or not, it’s quiet, even in the largest and most chaotic of crowds. The typical shoving and jockeying for position we’re constantly, unwillingly dragged into doesn’t exist. The air was clean and even though the temperatures nearly match those further south, it felt cool. There were parks, trees, crosswalks that were used, heck, there were sidewalks. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I caught myself walking in the road out of sheer habit. On the flip side, it’s outrageously expensive, and communication in English can be challenging, which probably worked in our favor, or we may have been tempted to stay put.

But for now, we are back here, and honestly, the thought of physically moving anywhere else just isn’t appealing, however annoyed and tired I might be. But, this is Step One. Get back into what I love to do. It might be sloppy, but here it goes. I’ll be writing about Hong Kong (yes, I mean it!) over my next several posts, even including some pictures from my pathetic collection. So where do you move when you’re close to burnout? Forward. Slowly. 

8 thoughts on “Burnout, Hong Kong, and non-Pinteresty “Creative Spaces”

  1. I am on the same boat as you! thanks for the wisdom ” So where do you move when you’re close to burnout? Forward. Slowly. ”
    God spoke this to my heart last sunday while I was dragging myself out of the house and trying to put a smile on my face before anybody from the church Pete is ministering sees me lol! “What if moving forward is actually staying?” sigh….

    1. “What if moving forward is actually staying?”….Ohh, I like that actually! 🙂 Maybe sometimes God keeps us in a place of rest to be renewed, even though it doesn’t feel like we’re stuck and not moving forward. It’s all His timing, even though it can feel frustrating in the moment. And yes…totally understand the “put on a happy face” thing, but I’m learning it’s good and OK to be vulnerable.

  2. Thanks for sharing your heart and for your transparency. We too just came off a bit of a break which was immensely refreshing, but the realities of “home” (in another culture, but probably also true in our passport country…) can hit hard. I’m leaning hard on Jesus this week for His grace to endure and His leading regarding our future. For me, at least, the enemy is quick to discourage and shame, remembering that Jesus’ love for me is deeper and richer than I could ever understand and has absolutely NOTHING to do with what I do…. that’s a sweet peace to hold on to. Praying you find the grace to share more and write well (I, too, find that burning out kills creativity!) but more than that, that you experience His love in new, deeper ways this week.

    1. Thanks for the prayers and the kind words! I love that no matter how we feel, up, down, and otherwise, God is that consistent pillar we can cling to, even though, you’re right, it’s hard. I like “tangible” reassurances, and sometimes it’s hard knowing that God is still there when the enemy talks over Him, very loudly at times!

  3. 100% with you… and I’ll even make an effort to jump back on the blogging bandwagon with you! Non-work-writing is The Thing that perpetually lives on my to-do list and rarely gets crossed off. Let’s chat in 2 weeks over candy pumpkins and coffee 🙂

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