2008 was a horrible year for me creatively speaking. The trend that started in 2007 continued, resulting in little to no creative output each month. This, despite the fact that it was a comparatively light travel year. Not only does it seem I can no longer draw, but programming is uninteresting, and writing even a simple blog entry results in a huge amount of stress.

I wish I could point to a single reason for the drop-off. It would be tremendously conforting to go, "Ah ha! You!" and invest quality time in alleviating the issue. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case.

At first, I had blamed my exercise regimen for stealing precious time and energy from my hectic schedule. While the time required for my workout is indeed non-trivial, it's not a cause. Even when I take vacations away from the gym, my motivation is still abysmal.

One might think that stress from work is a contributing factor. When I compare 2007 to 2008, I find that despite the lesser amount of travel, it was a busier and more stressful year. I'm involved in several infrastructure projects, as well as several on-going efforts at clients across the country.

Now that I consider the previous two paragraphs, it does seem I've had a rather stressful year. Unfortunately, that's not the only thing going on.

The behaviors and perceptions that I internalized growing up are still affecting me. Early in the year I was trying to make an effort to acknowledge them, even overcome them. As summer began to set in, however, I began to backpedal on my progress. Perhaps it was the stress of work, or the increasing difficulty in my workouts, but I've grown less and less aware as to how it influences me. I've put less and less effort to overcoming it.

Lately I've been feeling as if I've given up far more than I realize in my attempt at SRS. I have enough income to afford a very nice -- or even a moderately nicer -- apartment than I currently have. I force myself to make due when replacement is really a better strategy. For example, I still haven't purchased a new laptop and use the system provided by work as my own. This "lockdown" goes beyond money.

I'm beginning to realize that I've given up several personal rights. I've given up the right to my vacation time as I fear being perceived as lazy and losing my job. I've tightened and tightened my online security to the point that it's practically stifling. I justify it all the same way, I can't afford a slip up, I can't afford to get fired. Granted, it's irrational, but I'm hard-pressed to think a little paranoia is justified at this juncture. 

Or is it? One thing I've been avoided is the thought that all this "security" may in fact be more damaging than the things I'm trying to protect.