Taking Time Off To Recharge

I decided to take some time off to recharge my mental batteries. Whenever your creative energy starts to ebb, the efforts you put out are so weakened and puts you (and your clients) at risk of bad design. In order to offset that, I decided to dedicate a week to doing nothing creative—just being. The week is almost over and I guess I accomplished my goal—somewhat. While I haven’t done creative, I also haven’t really done what I wanted. Issues with the babysitter not being here this week, bad starts to the day (I just couldn’t get out of bed early) to what now feels like a cold or something trying to brew inside, thanks to my 11-year-old son.

During all this time one thing has been consistent. My mind was tired. With my mind being tired, the body follows suit. That’s why its been so hard getting out of bed. My mind is tired. Mentally I’ve been going through a lot of shit the past 10 years since my (1st) wife was murdered September 11th. I kept working through all that grief and trauma because it kept my mind off of what happen. At the time I thought it was best. I’m not so sure if that was the right move now. While I have had great creative success during this 10 year period, it also came with a thorny backside to it. Winning my first major design awards at The Ozzies in 2002 left me so emotionally numb. What was to be a happy occasion was really a painful one. During the awards ceremony, I piled on the glasses of Jack & Coke. When my name was announced, I was in a tipsy haze as I approached the stage. Always the professional, I accepted without anyone ever knowing how I was feeling that night. I left early after getting two awards that night.

It was raining heavily as I walk the streets that night getting soaked. A perfect fit to my emotions and a great mask to the tears flowing down my face. Great winning these awards for working on a magazine that I enjoyed but without my wife to share in that moment, it felt like my heart was ripped out. When I finally got home, I let out all the pain in the middle of my pillow. After about an hour, I got up, poured another glass of Jack & Coke and began staring at my awards. “This really sucks,” I thought to myself. But I couldn’t allow myself to wallow in grief as I had a young son to raise. Awakening the next morning, I proceeded to follow my usual routine as if the night never happened.

And I’ve been going ever since.

As I sit here writing this, I realize now more than ever how much my emotional rest contributes to my creative energy. At times I wonder if I’m suffering creative burnout or creative boredom. Haven’t done any personal projects in years just been creating work for clients. Is not taking time off to recharge emotionally after September 11, 2001 catching up to me?

I don’t know but at times it sure feels like it.

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