Burnout Extinguished My Enthusiasm

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom comes out in two days and I’m too tired to be excited about it. Sure, I know I’ll have a blast playing it, but I’m too worn down to feel anything but base acknowledgment of what this impending moment means. I’ve been waiting for this game for six years, ever since I beat Breath of the Wild for the first time and knew there had to be more based on the DLC announcements and the rumors swirling around it. After all, if they had so many great ideas for what else they could do with the game via DLC, then it stood to reason that they’d make another one. Now, six years after that thought entered my head, I only feel more tired when I think about it.

Some of it is the burnout I wrote about last week. A non-insignificant portion of it, though, is that none of the people I used to talk to about The Legend of Zelda are in my life anymore. I stand by the decisions I made, but it really sucks to have no one I can talk to about how excited I am who won’t need me to walk them through every single step of the process. No one to bounce ideas off. No one to argue with as we discuss the world, the game, and what has been happening as we play. I thought I might have one such person, but they’re not really a responsive online communicator. My previous attempts have all fallen so flat that I’ve given up trying to engage them. Which is fine. I’m not going to demand they change just so I’ve got someone to talk to, but it really undercuts my ability to feel excited about this new game when I’ve got no one to share that excitement with.

I’m sure I’ll boot up the game friday morning and have an absolutely fabulous time. I’ve set my path for the day, created my itinerary, stocked my fridge, and laid the groundwork for an absolute mess of a weekend spent enjoying the new game. I’ve given myself every opportunity to enjoy this experience, but it has been a lot of work to put in the effort. I’m just forcing myself to do all this stuff because I know I’ll appreciate it when I start playing the game rather than because I am excited for it. Good sense and past experience are driving my actions, rather than excitement, anticipation, or delight. It’s a rough way to live, when you’re feeling the some sort of morose exhaustion when you prepare for a highly anticipated new game in your favorite franchise as you do when you force yourself to log your work hours every week instead of monthly (or when you force yourself to tie up the trash bag and put it next to the front door so you stop forgetting to take it out).

I really wish there was a way I could take a day or two off to just bust through this burnout so I can go into playing this game with fresh, unexhausted eyes. I wish I knew that a spa day or a long bath or even just some quiet in the woods away from the city would give me what I need to shake off my latest bout of burnout. I’d take the day off of work to do that if I knew it would help. Right now, though, it’s dfficult to argue with the thought that I should save my days off for when I can’t push myself to work since I’ll have used more than half my year’s vacation time before I’m even five months through it. I need to save what I’ve got left in case I get sick or in case someone else does. I can’t really afford to take time to rest or to spend money on anything frivilous that I haven’t already budgeted for.

Every time I start circling around this degree of burnout in my writing, I’m reminded that I can’t use hard work to fix burnout. I can’t make myself so busy or so excited that the burnout goes away. I need rest. I need time to recover. It is truly unfortunate that, as rewarding as my trip to Spain was, it was not very restful. Nor has any of the time since then been restful. Nor will any time until mid-June or July be restful. Even playing Tears of the Kingdom, though likely very rewarding and very fun, will not be restful. It will be an island of calm in a sea of chaos as I try to balance enjoying myself with doing all of the preparations on my plate for attending my friends’ wedding and then moving apartments in the weeks after that. It is difficult to properly relax, after all, when so much stress is just hanging out on the horizon, waiting for the right moment to sweep down and bury you.

I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune once all of this is done and intermitently throughout it, of course. Nothing is forever, not even this exhaustion and stress. There will be bright moments. There will be joy. I mean, I’ve got one heck of a blog post lined up for Friday because the 12th is not only the day Tears of the Kingdom comes out, but it will also be my 1000th blog post. I’ve been working on a big post about both things between everything else I’m doing, so I hope it’ll be a fun read. This, if nothing else, will be a ray of light to carry me through my periods of high stress in the coming months. I just wish I felt more excited about it, is all.

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