I read this article about How Millenials Became The Burnout Generation recently and parts of it hit me kind of hard. As an Asian kid, I have been prepping for “my future” since I was young. I excelled at school, but as I grew older the naive thought that school could lead to my “dream job” led me in random directions. I finished post-secondary school with a Bachelors of Music Degree and then went on to do a diploma in Entertainment Management. While I regret neither of those decisions (the latter led me to my husband), it was a life in the early 20s that wasn’t easy, required a lot of working for free and long hours. I’m doing okay today, but it’s nowhere where my parents were when they were my age.
I’ve been living online, “optimizing” my presence on the internet since I was 12 or 13. I became fluent in the online world wherever I went. I taught myself to code my own websites and blogs at 12 (hello Geocities), mastered the economy of Neopets, sold a popular Ragnarok Online account and had a lot of Asian Avenue/MySpace/ICQ friends. By the time smartphones and Twitter/Facebook came around, I was ready. I had been building a personal brand and online content for more than half my life without thinking about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and appreciate what I have in life right now, but I’m starting to step back a little on my own channels. Life doesn’t always have to be content. Not everything I do has to be productive. I started to feel the burnout for real last year after years of blogging every day. I loved sharing all the products that I had used up every month until it started to feel like a chore writing it all down that I stopped trying to use up stuff altogether. I even haven’t finished building the set of Nintendo Labo because I kept thinking I was “too exhausted” to document the steps.
Despite my dog having a fast-growing Instagram account, he’s the one that has taught me that life can be slowed down, not everything has to be documented and that sometimes you miss laughing at the best moments when you’re behind a screen.
This year, I’m making a conscious effort to do more of nothing. It’s hard because sometimes you can accidentally “optimize” the nothing, which makes it again feel like work (like when I tried to do self-care Sundays). I want to do more of truly nothing, staring into space, cuddling and taking more naps with the dog and going on more walks. I don’t know if that’s really a resolution. Can I make a resolution to “do nothing”?