So, I'm in pain again.
Most of you who know me know that I worked through a serious issue with chronic pain over the course of the last five years or so. It was due to two herniated discs in my neck, and ongoing damage to the median nerve in my right arm. You probably also know that about two years ago, I underwent surgery to receive a spinal fusion to correct this condition, and how that changed my life for the better.
Simply put: that surgery fixed me.
Even though I had a long recovery period, I awoke and immediately knew I was in the least amount of pain I could remember. That might seem like a weird sentence. Chronic pain skews your ability to feel and understand pain. Because you have to live and work with it, constantly. But chronic nerve pain? You can't *see* nerve pain. It feels like it's inside and outside and spread throughout the body all at once.
Anyway, rather than struggle to explain the inner restless qualities of nerve pain, I have to focus on the external effects.
About a month ago now, some pain started to creep back in. I began reflecting. And I started to realize that I'd been letting little things start to slip- exercise and stretching, as well as some of the smaller things I'd done in the past to adjust my posture. It's hard work attending to a body that's falling apart, with everything else going on.
So I have to take some breaks. And I have to take it easy. I'm trying to make sure my time from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning each week is free for rest, relaxation and reflection. To goof off and read comics instead of creating paintings or to join a raid in Destiny instead of working on logistics for the studio.
As I mentioned in my last post, a lot of the successes we've had (and the failures) can be attributed to factors around time. How much we spent on something (or didn't), how long it should take to do something well vs. how long it takes to do something sloppily, etc etc...
But an important factor is also working on not overextending. To pick good projects and good times to accomplish things. I'm working hard on keeping that balanced, because I if I go too far afield, I'll have a harder time coming back. If I don't get enough rest when I can, or I strain my neck or arm further, it may take weeks or months to recover enough to continue working at a good pace, pushing forward towards my goals...
Burnout defeats opportunity. So, I have to block burnout at all costs. Because I don't know how many "burnout moments" I have left to come back from, if my body won't cooperate. It could be ten. It could be a hundred. It could be two.
In short: I don't want to fast forward to burnout.