New York: Lessons Learned

I went to New York for four days, and I barely took any photos. Honestly, the only snapshots from my time there that I’m satisfied with are three Polaroids. I think that a subconscious part of me knows to seek out travel/change when I need to address habits or thought patterns that are holding me back, and this trip proved to be no exception. I addressed this briefly on Instagram, but my camera had begun to feel like a barrier: a glass wall standing in the way of me properly processing personal experiences as opposed to a conduit allowing me to express them.

I’m not blaming social media for my burnout, but it does create this interesting culture in which people are expected to be constantly productive. Whether you identify as a student, an athlete, an artist or a chef, you need to constantly be generating “content” to keep your followers interested. In a way, everybody with an Instagram is running a small business, whether they realize it or not. Some people, such as myself, can get so caught up in keeping up with a schedule or trying to be strategic that they forget to sit back, take a breath, and let ideas develop at their own pace.

At its foundation, art starts with an idea. Over time, that idea slowly develops in complexity, and the artist’s skills grow, and eventually the two intertwine to form a project. For a while, I forgot this. I got a little bit caught up in the hamster wheel of panic, and didn’t take the time that I needed to address the ideas that had existed all along. My trip to New York this time around gave me the much-needed space to write ideas out and simply allow them to exist; to plan and dream and experience without any sense of urgency.

Towards the end of my trip, I came to believe that burnout is not only necessary, but beautiful. I believe that burnout is what happens when an avenue has been pursued to its fullest extent, and change has become necessary for continued growth. Burnout is the result of one iteration of an idea being pushed to completion. Burnout is beautiful; it allows you to take stock of your situation with fresh eyes, and dream of new solutions. Burnout is a turning point for the sake of personal development.

New York this time around was full of introspection and writing and sketching and alternate forms of self-expression from my usual. New York was personal growth and living in the moment and learning to soak everything in as fully as possible without a lens: for I believe that I cannot properly capture a moment that I do not know how to experience on my own.

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