I have dreamt of becoming an aerospace engineer for many years, and when it finally happened, I felt like it wasn't happening. I wasn't happy or sad, I was burnt out. My journey through aerospace engineering was an all-encompassing, demanding experience. It involved countless late nights, intricate challenges, and high-stakes projects. The pressure was relentless, and the expectations were sky-high. It was a journey that demanded my absolute best and then some. Especially knowing, that I was never just doing it for me. I was doing it for 16-year-old girls around the world being told they only wanted to be engineers to marry well.
Burnout is a state of exhaustion that often results from prolonged and intense periods of stress, overwork, and mostly the feeling of being overwhelmed. It is characterized by decreased motivation. Burnout is commonly associated with work-related stress, but it can occur in various aspects of life. You can get burnt out from anything.
For me, burnout wasn't an immediate crash; it crept in slowly. Sleepless nights, mounting stress, and the constant feeling of not doing enough and being enough to do it wore me out. I kept putting my mental and physical well-being on the back burner, thinking that if I could just power through for one more week it would all be fine.
When I was finally done, I just felt empty. I had no motivation left in me to do anything at first. I planned to spend that summer figuring out my biggest plans and dream yet. Yet, I couldn't get myself to do anything. The idea of taking a break, especially after years of non-stop dedication, was daunting at first. Yet, suddenly, everything felt on pause inside my brain. I needed a break. Something different.
During this time a very unexpected thing started to help, I stumbled upon a long-forgotten interest: gaming, and streaming. As I played games I was immersed in a world where equations and stress dissolved. Hobbies became my refuge and a mental reset button.
I finally had the time and room and needed to fix a part of my life that I thought was lost after the last few years. Answering the question: " What do you do in your free time?" just made me laugh until then. What free time?
But suddenly, spending time gaming, finding new games to play, and getting into watching game streams was bringing me back to my true self. I promised myself that from now on, things will be different. Time for hobbies, even if it feels like I don't or won't have the time.
While next to graduate school I don't get to do them as much, but this feels like a real saver. Playing video games, and I also started learning to punch-needle, and even paint sometimes. And even more importantly, I don't aim to be good at them.
I play video games with almost zero aim, and nothing competitive. I punch-needle little animals, to be used for nothing, and I paint little dinosaur portraits with numbers on them and leave the line as often as I need to.
Solely, because I know that these are things I do for myself, and I don't have any other goals. I don't need to be good at them, or have any goals associated with them. They are there to make m,e happy, and help me step away from work and school and everything else.