Follow Up on Burnout

1999: I’m not alone in my burnout. I received a lot of email after last week’s column on burnout. Several writers, including a fair number of webmasters, said it helped them put things in perspective and reduce their hectic pace a bit.

I’ve been slowly recovering from a few consecutive days that thoroughly drained me.

Last Friday (March 26) was the first day that I felt pretty much human again. Mental fatigue coupled with simply being physically tired were finally giving way.

I’m still behind on my email, but slowly catching up. I’ve actually written more editorials than is typical in the past week, but they’ve been therapeutic. Of the many activities of life, writing is one I thoroughly enjoy.

Another is singing.

At our previous church, I was so impressed with the way the choir led in worship, I joined it. I hadn’t sung in a choir since high school, which was about 18 years behind me at that time. But I was so touched by the music that I felt compelled to participate.

We sang everything from classical to contemporary choruses, but I always had a special affinity for gospel music. I sang with the smaller madrigal group for two of my four years in the choir. And last February, I had the privilege of singing a solo.

Due to some messy and completely unforeseen circumstances, we began looking for a new church home last April. Finally, as summer vacation came to an end, we discovered a church that I liked, my wife liked, and all four boys liked.

Thornapple Evangelical Covenant Church has one worship service in the summer, combining traditional and contemporary styles very comfortably. My wife and I really appreciate the way that they integrate old and new, showing the historical continuity of the church while always adapting to a changing world.

But there are too many people attending worship to do that once the school year begins, so we have a contemporary worship service at 8:30 on Sunday morning, followed by an hour for education, and then a more traditional service at 10:45.

We settled on the early service. The four boys, even the two with paper routes, said it was worth it to get up early enough. So we rarely experienced the traditional worship.

The early service has a praise band: drums, guitars, keyboard, violin, and several singers. Very high energy – and a real treat to listen to and worship with.

Wednesday night is “everything night” at church: youth programs, Bible studies, prayer groups, choir, and praise band. I’d tried the choir, but the music didn’t fit me.

Last Wednesday I was invited to sing with the praise band.

Remember, I’d been fighting burnout for about ten days. I was completely exhausted, but I found the energy to join them. As we began to sing, the fatigue fell away. The music was uplifting, fun to sing, and it energized me. My wife said it was the first time in over a week she’d seen me without glazed eyes.

So I’m feeling a lot more human, a lot less like a zombie these days. I still run down easily, but we’re planning on getting away for most of next week. We haven’t decided where yet – and I don’t care. Give me a Holidome or something equivalent for a few days, then I’ll be as good as new.

I’m looking into other preventive measures, too, but first comes recovery.

We bought a new computer desk and had ISDN installed at the Low End Mac offices (a.k.a. the one-time family rec room and current multi-Mac cyberlair). ISDN is great, and I’ll be writing more about that in the near future. But setting up the new desk meant dismantling the hub, several systems, and lots of pieces.

I’ll be rebuilding it over the coming days, then attacking the email backlog.

And then vacation next week!

A special thank you to all who wrote.

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