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Weekly Technetic #30: Emptiness
We all feel empty at times. Whether it's because you're exhausted from your job, distressed by family drama, or missing a loved one, it's perfectly natural to have the sense that there's nothing left in your tank. It isn't depression, even if those of us who suffer from depression feel it more often. And it's not debilitating, because it's always temporary.
Finding ways to refill that tank can often be the hardest part, especially if those who would normally help you are unavailable or unwilling. For the technetic, the two best ways, of course, are learning and creating.
Learning encompasses more than just book study. Anything at all can be a learning experience. As a personal example, I spent the weekend before last with my significant other. It was a two-day first date—necessary because of the distance between us—and every part of it taught me something, whether about her, about me, or about the world around us. At no point was I in a classroom, and the closest I got to a "learning environment" was on a hiking trail through a Civil War battlefield, but I came back home far more knowledgable than I left.
When you're feeling empty, look for ways to create your own learning experiences with the people you love. If that's not possible, solo exploration can also work, but it's important to test yourself. Find those things you haven't really seen before. Visit that new shop down the street, or the cafe you keep hearing about, or a corner of the lake that's out of the way. Seek out interesting people and places, and take them in. Let them fill you. They'll do a better job than any amount of mass media.
On the other side of the coin, creating can be just as fulfilling. We know this already, and it's one of the fundamental truths of technetism, but it's good to look at creation in this light, too.
Most of us have jobs, and many of those are exercises in creation. I'm a developer, for example, so my work consists of creating websites and applications. While that's rewarding in its own right, I don't want to do it all the time. And it's mentally exhausting, so I believe I would find more joy and fulfillment in creative hobbies that require at least some physical exertion---I've seriously considered taking up something like woodworking for that very reason.
You may be different. A man with a factory job probably doesn't want to be on his feet any longer than necessary, so his creative pursuits should tend toward the mental. The stay-at-home mom, by contrast, might want a chance to turn her brain off for a little while, but still be able to create. Whatever works for you will work for you. There are no wrong answers, and the only right one is the one that makes you happy.
The key, however, is to make sure that you're making something. It can be art in any medium, even purely digital. It can be the result of a craft. It can be impressions in the minds of others, or even wealth for yourself and your family. As long as you can point to a positive "thing", whether real or intangible, that comes from it, it's a form of creation. As long as you come out of the creative process with a sense of fulfillment, it has served its purpose.
That's really all there is to it. Find the things that fill you up when you're running on empty, but only take those that will end with you and the world around you being better for the effort. Mindless work can be good; mindless consumption often isn't.
The technetic goal is goodness. The path to that goodness sometimes doesn't require us to walk.