We make these commitments to things hoping that by doing so we will in some way define ourselves as better versions of who we are. We lock into an education and a career path hoping that we'll have stability, purpose and drive. It's a commitment of time, money, energy and we have no real guarantees. But we do it. Partly because we really are passionate and partly because, well, that's what you do. Grow up, go to school, get a career, move into your own place- have a life.
And sometimes, it goes really well. We have days when we think "this is why I do this". We feel like we're making a difference, like there's a reason for it. And that keeps us going, even when the less desirable parts of the job take up more time than the stuff we're actually doing it for.
But then there are those days when we don't make a difference. When the words we say fall short. When change doesn't come. Or even worse, when some change we thought we were moving away from comes back full force. And who knows if we'll have another chance to make that change. Or if we even want to try again?
And then the inner critic pops up. There is no real change, no real hope. All you're doing is delaying the inevtiable. You're wasting your time, your energy on something that's just not going to pay you back. That hopeful, optimistic voice is just naiveté.
And sometimes people give into that critic. Suffer the occupational hazard of "burnout" or the more covert "early retirement" which is anything but. And grow bitter, resentful, shriveled. Raisin-like.
But we tell ourselves that we won't. It's just a bad day, we'll get over it. We have before, after-all. But there's still that lingering question: what if we're just delaying the inevitable?
Our friends tell us that we need to recharge, that passion needs an energy boost. That's why we take vacations, seek further education to expand our knowledge base and consult others who know more or have more experience. And talking still helps.
But those days hurt us more than any of us really want to admit. A tiny, almost unnoticeable part of our spirit dies. The same as when Santa Claus stopped existing, true love became a marketing tool and we found out that our most admired person really was just a schmuck.
We don't let it break us, we don't give in. But it would be a lie to say that it didn't hurt.