Today, we talk about decisions. There’s something about making a decision – a final, official decision – that changes your entire perspective on things. Something that you love can take a complete 180 in your mind when you make a decision about it.
At first, when I had finally decided to quit raiding, I was happy. My mind was filled with all the things I’d now have time to do on four of my weeknights that I’d otherwise use for raiding. I started making plans for going back to the gym again, getting experimental with cooking again, and keeping the house psychotically clean. And it was a really nice feeling that coexisted with my desire to raid still (remember, my decision to quit raid was not fuelled by a lack of desire to raid, but the requirements of being able to raid as posed by the game). I logged on for raid with a fresh new outlook on life but a pretty keen desire to still do raiding stuff.
But after I gave my official notice, something snapped in my brain. Suddenly this game – that I loved and still do love – became something that I wanted to distance myself from as much as possible. Logging in has become difficult. I don’t want to go to raid because I don’t want to play the game to compete anymore. Yet, at the same time, competing is why I love the game. And I still love the idea of competing. But competing in practice just isn’t viable for me anymore. And the feelings attached to the reasons that make it not viable have spread to everything I love about the game.
It’s a really surreal feeling to love something but hate doing it. I’m sure this is a classic case of burnout and why so many people decide to take a break. But I think a lot of people hear “burnout” or assume burnout without really understanding what it means. It isn’t just getting overwhelmed with the game. It’s getting overwhelmed in an environment that you love by aspects that you hate. Eventually the tedium outweighs the fun and has a serious effect on your mental health.
Burnout isn’t a weakness of character. It’s the burden of determination.
Cutting something out of your life due to burnout isn’t cowardly or “the easy way out.” It’s healthy. Don’t criticise or look down on people who leave the game or leave raiding because of burnout. It’s likely not an easy decision for those people to make. Important decisions are hard.
My decision to leave raiding is no different. It’s a decision that I’m glad I made, but that I haven’t seen come to fruition yet as I play through my remaining days on the raid team. As of the new year, I’ll be able to pack my decision away into the closure box, but until then, I’m in some weird limbo purgatory. I’m not upset with my guild, they’re not forcing me to stay. I chose to stay until the end of the year out of respect for everyone I raid with every week and out of respect for the leadership. They’re a good guild and we’ve had great times. They deserve my perseverance and I’m willing to give it to them, so this is in no way a fault of theirs or some weird guilt trip.
It’s just an awkward situation filled with awkward feelings.