From Burnout to Breakthrough

“Who else lived two completely different years in 2022?” I recently read a tweet to this effect, and it’s definitely true for me.

I started out 2022 with the word “breakthrough,” though I didn’t know what it would mean.

For the first half of 2022 I felt a more accurate word would have been “stuck.” I did have some mini-breakthroughs:

First, I was invited to teach, and help develop curriculum for, a course on tour guiding. It was a much-needed change of pace as I knew I needed to move on from full time tour guiding, I just didn’t know how or in what direction to go. So I was excited about the new challenge, and new potential path.

Also, I started to get to know someone who I thought might become… someone more. This was exciting for an entirely different reason: it has been awhile since I’ve had any kind of romantic relationship (Covid pretty much put that whole thing on ice for me) and I felt like I might finally be ready for… that.

However, balancing the course design and teaching responsibilities with my tour leading responsibilities and just life quickly became a different kind of exhausting, and by the end of May I was careening towards another case of full-blown burnout. Even with the new responsibilities and prospect of new opportunities at my tour company, as well as the stirring of hopes on the romance front, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was stuck.

June ended up being the pivotal month. In mid-June, I went to a silent retreat. On the ferry to Bowen Island I turned my phone on Airplane Mode and left it there for the duration of the weekend, to commit myself fully to a much-needed time of both guided and self-directed reflection.

During this weekend I learned a couple of important things, first that I needed to move on from tour guiding, as the things about it that I had found most life-giving, the motivations that had stoked in me a passion for the job, were now largely past-tense feelings. Secondly, I felt a clear sense that the next thing was coming, I just had to be ready, and open. Thirdly, even though I was unhappy about this particular revelation, I felt strongly that the romantic feelings I had been developing were ill-placed, and that I needed to move on from them.

Unfortunately for my feelings, this third thing was confirmed shortly after with the discover that the person I thought I was “seeing”… was seeing someone else. So that settled that, and it’s a good thing people can’t see you cry through a motorcycle helmet.

However, the disappointment of that was quickly displaced with hopeful joy as the real breakthrough I had been waiting for (without knowing what it was) finally started to unfold.

An email in my inbox led to a conversation which led to an exciting opportunity for a new chapter.

Finally, the breakthrough!

The second half of 2022, then, has been coloured with the very welcome excitement and challenge of transitioning and adjusting to a new job and new rhythms. In October, I travelled to Las Vegas for my first in-person event with my new job, and it was a beyond thrilling experience.

So, while this has not been without its challenges, and although the weather did thwart Christmas with both sides of my family, 2022 is winding down in a very exciting new season, such that rather than feeling like I’m push/pull/dragging myself across the finish line at the end of the year (as the past few years have certainly felt), I’m coasting over the line with momentum to carry into 2023. It has been a long time since I’ve felt that way and I am beyond thankful.

As for the romance, well that’s been put perpetually on hold once more, but who knows – maybe 2023 will bring more than the false hopes and failed starts of the years previous.

Even if it doesn’t, I’m not too worried about it. I have been enjoying more time and capacity (and less restrictions) to spend with friends and family this past year, and I am very thankful to have been able to connect and reconnect with all kinds of amazing people in 2022.

Onward to 2023!

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