For some reason, I stopped playing

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 5:53 PM | comments: 0

Last week, I got nailed with some kind of virus, and to say I felt suboptimal doesn't even cover it. Wednesday was the first day in this job that I've ever actually taken PTO to not work. Normally I just soldier on and work, since I'm home anyway. This was the kind of sick where you end up on your back with nothing but your thoughts. Honestly, me with just my thoughts is never a good thing.

I haven't felt quite like myself on and off for the last six months. I don't think I've been unhappy or depressed, but something just didn't feel right. I guess the biggest symptom is that I'm not engaging in much of anything the way that I'm used to. I've been mentally lethargic, often content to turn off my brain and watch random TV. That's completely not me.

Something is starting to come into focus though... at some point I stopped playing. I mean that in a really broad sense. The things that intrigue me and interest me simply haven't drawn me in.

For example, whether it's for outright professional development or my hobbyist bent, I'm usually one to mess around with the technology I work with, on my own time. I like to experiment and learn about the stuff, especially the newest things. There is plenty out there, but I just haven't been interested enough to engage. Granted, I think I sort of understand where this came from. Last fall I had a project, one centered on fixing performance issues, that ended up being just me. It was wildly successful, but that kind of engagement at that level for a sustained amount of time definitely took a toll on me. It was a relief even for my next project to not be something that required me to get that into the weeds on. Still, it did burn me out a little on the technology.

As far as activity and physical sports, I haven't been interested in that either. I think this might be slightly related to the technology play, because physical activity takes a lot out of my mental bandwidth, for whatever reason. I've played less with my words and writing. I play fewer video games. I don't really get down on the floor with Simon that often and play with his toys. I'm just not playing with the world!

I imagine this is temporary. Intrinsic motivation is the key driver of my life, but it has definitely been in short supply lately. This has to change.


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