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002. Burning man

Philip Obosi
Philip Obosi
Dear creator,
I have been struggling. The last two weeks have been quite challenging for me mentally and emotionally. No worries, this is not an invitation to a pity party. Just an attempt to write from the heart nonetheless as I have refused to go another week without writing you.

Burnout
It had become a pattern with me that for years now, I’d burn out really badly in the last month of the year. I’d be unable to do any work, stay away from the people that keep me sane, uninstall all social media apps and keep myself isolated from any sort of human experience that could in some way affect me. Stay indoors and find my rhythm again was usually the goal. But, it’s always been my target to change this. Having chucked it all up to doing too much work and being stressed a lot, I had imagined it’d be different this year. Oooooh…. I was wrong. Or.. maybe I’m not.
I feel like I’m in a rut, though my sheer determination and desire to make this project a reality has kept me focused and productive to the best of my ability. Alas, to the detriment of my mental and emotional health. Sometimes, I feel like life is worthless. You find your rhythm for a moment and you lose it just as fast. You think things are going well and you may have found something special but that two turns out to be an illusion. 
2021 has been my most challenging year ever. Recently, someone asked that we talk about some of the bad things that happened to us this year and it got me thinking. I stopped myself halfway and tried to reverse it. Gratitude is key you know. Sadly, I felt like every good thing I had to recount came paired with a blob of pain waiting further down the line. Maybe that’s untrue. Maybe it’s just my perception of things at the moment but…. that’s how I feel. 
It gets really lonely being this guy. Somedays I genuinely want to lay down my sword and concede defeat on many fronts. What’s the point of it all after all? I need people. I need my friends and the people I hold dear. But I also don’t know how to handle people if I’m being honest. I have a track record of self-sabotaging when it comes to friendships and relationships. Even with creating things, I still get overwhelmed by the interest my work causes people to take in me. Which is rather weird. I’m the same guy who genuinely wants to connect with people but also the guy who withdraws when people reach out. The same guy who avoids his inbox and calls and has his phone mostly on silent. I’ve never wanted to admit this, but maybe I experience some form of social anxiety. Because while I don’t fear interacting with people, I also never really know what to do/say except it’s someone I already know. And I’m not one to force conversations, I could stay quiet and stare for a whole day if that’s what it takes.
For the longest time, I’ve accepted a lot of these things as the sacrifice I need to pay to make my dreams a reality. Like there’s something unique about me and most people wouldn’t be able to handle or tolerate it on many levels so why try/bother. I’ve told myself severally, “Humans(like me) are disappointing, so why bother?”. Okay, now I’m blabbing. Funny thing is, despite knowing all this, the chances that I’d change are really low. Maybe not. Maybe I can try something different for a bit and see if I still feel the same way.
Hope
Despite all of these, I have found certain things really helpful.
It never hurts to get much-needed rest. I’m beginning to operate on a pay-attention-to-the-signs philosophy. Like most things, your mind and body send out signals that there’s some impending catastrophe when it comes to burnout. Take the signs seriously. The reason I’m dealing better this time is I took steps to mitigate the impact of work on my mental and emotional health. So what I’m really saying is, pay attention to your health and address issues as soon as they rear their head. I’m speaking to myself too if I’m being honest. This is something I’m still learning to do.
You need a support system. I haven’t figured this out completely but I am convinced that I do. Not to say that I don’t have amazing people in my life who hold me up when I’m down and who keep me sane. But I know there’s more work to be done in learning to relate better to people and I’m glad to put in the work. Life is an endless sculpting class, so I hope to keep improving on this every day of my life.
Knowing that there are always better days ahead is also a huge energy booster. For me, it has come much sooner than I expected. Last week, I had a major win that honestly kinda made all the turmoil of this year worth it. But that’s not all. This morning, something amazing happened and it ignited a fire in me as nothing has in a while. A founder from a really amazing company read my last letter and wrote me an email. I was overjoyed reading it and discovering this founder and the company has been quite a thrill for me. It’s really amazing to see that a company that embodies everything I value. I literally have spent the last couple of weeks having conversations around optimizations and processes that I realized they have been operating with for a long time now. It’s amazing to know I’m not mad and haven’t just been dreaming of unrealistic things. Ultimately, I’ve learnt once again to keep going nonetheless. Whether things are great or not. Keep writing, keep sharing, keep creating. Take a break if you have to. Eventually, your consistency and dedication outlast the not so great times.
Humanity and inventions
Going off a tangent, one other thing that has me worried these days is the future of humanity. That sounds needlessly altruistic. The thing is, as we evolve and begin to embrace digital experiences and virtual communities, I wonder how much of “humanity” is lost in the process. Looking at my life, the happiest I recall ever being was when I was in the same room with someone I love(yes romantically, “I do be falling in love too”). But this applies beyond romantic interactions. A closer look at where our new tech and development is taking us despite its best intentions seems really far from what I’d call a human experience. For someone like me, I suspect I’d struggle in such an environment. Most of it overwhelms me. Technological advancements these days tend to make progress while eliminating core aspects of the things that keep me(and you too I suspect) sane. What truly human thing?
  • That feeling of connectedness to the next person.
  • Physical interaction,
  • Touch,
  • A warm smile,
  • Eye contact,
  • A silent joke
  • Trust
  • Collaboration
  • Empathy
Not:
  • Weird avatars(monkeys)
  • Deep-fakes
  • Simulations
  • et al.
Okay, maybe I’m bugging. In truth, the metaverse worries me. That level of stimulation in a virtual environment that is void of actual human interaction sounds like a problematic innovation to me on several levels. Not forgetting that this is the same thing responsible for the loneliness, isolation, depression, and anxiety that most people feel today. Is this a valid concern? We can’t ignore the pros here, can we? I really can’t say. It worries me nonetheless, so I’m throwing it out into the universe.
I already feel like I’m definitely not publishing this. I don’t know that I want to get this much personal information into the world. Now I’m gonna be at war with myself up until this goes out on Monday. To publish or not to?
I guess it’s a diary for a reason. 
Plus, I’m looking to die empty and I think this is what it takes.
Quick update:
As regards weekly creator calls and joining the Creathor Guild, I’d be reaching out to those who filled the form individually so we can have futher conversations about how it’s meant to work and get your input too.
I hope that you have an amazing week and keep fighting(if your situation needs it). I’m fighting too and I’m sure there are better days ahead.
Until then, keep creating and I love you.
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Philip Obosi
Philip Obosi @gutsyphilip

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