adjusting to the real world - helpful hints from old timers?

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bartolah
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adjusting to the real world - helpful hints from old timers?

Post by bartolah » Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:42 pm

Well crap. This is really tough. First off, being back at work after Burning Man sucks. I had no idea it would be this way! The real world is, well, lame...

Here I am, back at work, day dreaming about riding through the playa, walking the esplanade with old and new friends, still basking in this amazing stress-free glow. All the while I can sense the pressures of the real world pushing in on me from all sides - egos, stress, deadlines - ack!

How do you all do it?

Is it even possible to hold on to this feeling, this state of mind free from worry, this amazing sense of faith and love? It seems daunting, no it is daunting. And to think it'll be another year before the next Burn...

Some of the things we're going to try to do:
- Talk to strangers! This morning, on the way into work, I greeted anyone and everyone I had eye contact with - it was fun to hear people's responses and quite a few people smiled - pretty cool - not like at BRC, but a start!
- Gifts! We've decided we're going to make gifts for our neighbors and make more of an effort to connect with them...
- Journal! I've been writing down as much of the experience and how I've felt as possible, trying to get it on paper while it's still fresh in my memory... something to reflect on later.

I'd love to hear your ideas too!
...third star to the right, and straight on till the man burns...

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inkyboi
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Adjusting

Post by inkyboi » Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:41 pm

This was my first burn and coming back to the work force in NYC was a fucking drag.

I've been trying to adjust, but am not having an easy time doing it. I love your idea on giving gifts to the neighbors. I've brought the playa home by beginning to create lessons (I'm a high school teacher) that are more participatory and hands on. I want to instill the "neighborly" feeling into my kids.

Also, I've been finding myself looking at all the damn trash in this city and trying to pick up some (not REALLY gross shit) when I can (and when I can quickly wash my hands).

I'm adjusting SLOWLY and it's serious culture shock, but I have faith that looking forward to next year will give me some serious incentive to make some great changes in my life.

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robbidobbs
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Old timer advice

Post by robbidobbs » Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:44 pm

1) Drinki water like you're still out there. You're probably dehydrated, and will feel better faster if you get your liquid level back up to par.
2) Don't stress about the camping equipment being playa-fied. Just get your vehicle as un-playa'd as you can to protect the metal/gaskets. Several passes are necessary, and your vehicle will never be the same. Accept this as the Playa's gift to you.
3) Check to make sure you're fully clothed before leaving your house. Especially when you're in a hurry. And strip off layers discretely when in public.
4) Post all your pictures on a website rather than send them out individually. They are much easier to deal with for others that way.
5) Keep drinking water.
6) Sleep...a lot.
I'll be in my blanket fort until further notice.

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inkyboi
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Adjusting

Post by inkyboi » Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:44 pm

This was my first burn and coming back to the work force in NYC was a fucking drag.

I've been trying to adjust, but am not having an easy time doing it. I love your idea on giving gifts to the neighbors. I've brought the playa home by beginning to create lessons (I'm a high school teacher) that are more participatory and hands on. I want to instill the "neighborly" feeling into my kids.

Also, I've been finding myself looking at all the damn trash in this city and trying to pick up some (not REALLY gross shit) when I can (and when I can quickly wash my hands).

I'm adjusting SLOWLY and it's serious culture shock, but I have faith that looking forward to next year will give me some serious incentive to make some great changes in my life.

Tay
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Post by Tay » Tue Sep 07, 2004 5:15 pm

Here's one - bring nail polish remover (if you're a guy) to clean the silver nail polish off before you stop at that truck stop on the way back at 4 am.

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dana
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Post by dana » Tue Sep 07, 2004 5:41 pm

Tay - you silly guy, wear that nail polish proudly!

My biggest suggestion is to jump right into all the things in your life that get you fired up that you're alive on this strange planet. Projects, creative ideas to pursue, dreams and visions, your own sense of magic and the unseen connection to all that surrounds you, connecting with people met on the playa - anything that keeps you moving forward instead of dwelling on thoughts and feelings of what just ended. There's an intensity of feeling free and alive, connected, and/or love that happens easily on the playa. You have to decide to do it on your own or with your regular non-playa people to fill that void.

Personally I'm trying to locate a So. Cal. art therapist I met at Otter camp just before the temple burn, whose name died in my brain's pathetic name remembering circuits. :roll: Anyone know who she might be???

Dustydude
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Post by Dustydude » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:33 pm

I don't think us veterans have it much easier. This is my third time, and after being there only 4 days this time, I am really dragging today, emotionally and physically. As I drove off the playa I cried, which I didn't expect at all. I think it will take a few days (or weeks) to get past the withdrawal pains. But I would say the following will help:

1. Sleep - As tired as I am, I realize now how much I didn't sleep there. Sleep is good for the burner body.

2. Chill - Skip any strenuous activity until later in the week (except sex). Let your body do its thing recover from all that biking/walking/dancing. Don't watch any TV, especially news as long as you can avoid it to prolong the vibes. Sit outside on the porch tonight (if you have one).

3. Cleanse - Now is the time to perform the playa cleansing ritual. Take a few nice showers, clean out the car, wash off your camping gear over the next couple days. Go light on any substances the first few days back.

4. Reflect on what a great time you had there, savor it as it's truly a great thing you had out there. (Why do we have to wait a year for the next one?)

5. Connect - Call your camp mates and fellow burners. Post messages here. Look over your photos. Cherish the memories you can call your own.

6. Later in the week, call all your friends who couldn't go to say what a great time they missed. Tell your stories to them.

The rest is letting the time pass.

Dustydude
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Post by Dustydude » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:36 pm

Dustydude wrote:I don't think us veterans have it much easier. We are all sharing the pain. This is my third time, and after being there only 4 days this time, I am really dragging today, emotionally and physically. As I drove off the playa I cried, which I didn't expect at all. I think it will take a few days (or weeks) to get past the withdrawal pains. But I would say the following will help:

1. Sleep - As tired as I am, I realize now how much I didn't sleep there. Sleep is good for the burner body.

2. Chill - Skip any strenuous activity until later in the week (except sex). Let your body do its thing recover from all that biking/walking/dancing. Don't watch any TV, especially news as long as you can avoid it to prolong the vibes. Sit outside on the porch tonight (if you have one).

3. Cleanse - Now is the time to perform the playa cleansing ritual. Take a few nice showers, clean out the car, wash off your camping gear over the next couple days. Go light on any substances the first few days back.

4. Cherish the memories you can call your own. (Why do we have to wait a year for the next one?)

5. Connect - Call your camp mates and fellow burners. Post messages here. Look over your photos.

6. Later in the week, call all your friends who couldn't go to say what a great time they missed. Tell your stories to them.

The rest is letting the time pass.

Dustydude
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:17 pm

Post by Dustydude » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:37 pm

I don't think us veterans have it much easier. We are all sharing the pain. This is my third time, and after being there only 4 days this time, I am really dragging today, emotionally and physically. As I drove off the playa I cried, which I didn't expect at all. I think it will take a few days (or weeks) to get past the withdrawal pains. But I would say the following will help:

1. Sleep - As tired as I am, I realize now how much I didn't sleep there. Sleep is good for the burner body.

2. Chill - Skip any strenuous activity until later in the week (except sex). Let your body do its thing recover from all that biking/walking/dancing. Don't watch any TV, especially news as long as you can avoid it to prolong the vibes. Sit outside on the porch tonight (if you have one).

3. Cleanse - Now is the time to perform the playa cleansing ritual. Take a few nice showers, clean out the car, wash off your camping gear over the next couple days. Go light on any substances the first few days back.

4. Cherish the memories you can call your own. (Why do we have to wait a year for the next one?)

5. Connect - Call your camp mates and fellow burners. Post messages here. Look over your photos.

6. Later in the week, call all your friends who couldn't go to say what a great time they missed. Tell your stories to them.

The rest is letting the time pass.

Dustydude
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Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:17 pm

Post by Dustydude » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:38 pm

Sorry this thing doesn't let me edit.

Dustydude
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Post by Dustydude » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:38 pm

Sorry this thing doesn't let me edit.

Dustydude
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Post by Dustydude » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:39 pm

Sorry this thing doesn't let me edit.

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shitmouse
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Post by shitmouse » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:44 pm

how do you get back to 'real'?

grittingly.
our first year i noticed the "flip-flop" after leaving and having to fill up in a gross quicky mart. between stop lights, the cash register, and the flailing slot machine with line of fat asses buying mcdonalds was almost too much to look at.

- just grit your teeth until next year, and try to bring a little home to incorporate into everyday slog!

- become an active cacophonist in your community.

- volunteer where you live, for your cause.

-b
=-=-= \<>/ =-=-=

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gladeye
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Post by gladeye » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:52 pm

1. Lotsa water

2. Lotsa sleep

3. Avoid T.V. if you can help it for a couple more days. You really aren't missing anything.

4. Find an outlet to talk about it. This has always helped me the most. Sometimes there are Burning Man IRC chats, or at least posting here.

5. Perspective. If you're like a lot of people (including me) you probably took drugs. Ecstasy especially is going to give you an emotional drain a few days after the fact. I only do it at Burning Man though and the next week it can be hard to distinguish the genuine lament for the magic and wonder that is Burning Man from bio-chemical bounce back.

6. Think towards next year and start planning now!!
"Madness is the first sign of dandruff" - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

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bartolah
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Thanks - this helps a lot...

Post by bartolah » Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:44 am

Thanks all for your advice - it helps...

The avoiding TV thang seems to be key - in fact, avoiding information in general seems to be key. I'm trying to keep a keen eye on my reactions to the real world - in particular those things that trigger stress - and I get away fast!

So far, this has included:
- George W Bush stickers and references - on our way back from BM we saw a cadre of folks wearing Bush t-shirts - felt like I was going to puke
- the news - TV/newspaper, you name it, before BM I was an information junky and now I'm trying to keep it as far away from me as possible
- work - unfortunatley this is harder to avoid... i'm just trying to take it in doses for now. each day before work, since I got back, I sat down at a streetside cafe near work, did some journalling and said hi to folks as they walked by - this helped clear my mind.

Stuff that's been good:
- do nothing/just chill - one of my favorite playa activities was to sit outside or just stop on my bike in the middle of the Playa and soak in the energy. And while it's not the same here, sitting on my deck, outside, is pretty damn cool - and just chill.
- my dog rocks - I missed my dog sooo much while at BM and she's such a wonderful presence to come home to.
- eplaya - as several folks said, posting in this forum and having time to reflect, have also been really helpful. An added bonus, it's something that you can do from work... ;-)
- cleaning up and unpacking has also been pretty theapeutic.

Does anyone know of any BM reflection/story telling events in SF coming up?

Thanks again - bartolah (aka HuggyBear)
...third star to the right, and straight on till the man burns...

thinkcooper
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Post by thinkcooper » Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:47 am

My post burn advice?

1. I take time off after the burn- this whole week- to decompress, clean-up and slowly get back into my routine.

2. I indulge in comfort foods that I'd never consistently eat day after day, like junk food, sweet cereal, plus order lots of take-out to avoid having to cook and clean anything other than the playa gear.

3. I start plans for what I want to do next year; back in '96 that was harder 'cause it seemed like that was going to be the "last" year.

4. Bring the car to the wash, and get the best wash you can. Hand wax, full undercarriage, full interior, etc. Relax while it's getting cleaned. Have coffee, read the BRC papers that were stuffed under the seat when we arrived. -- Our ride took it hard this year towing a big trailer, laden with 3 newbies, lots of bikes, acquiring unknown spills in the back seat, and getting it back in a clean, shiny state again felt like a big accomplishment.

5. Get all the pictures together to share with non-burner friends over dinner.

6. RE: media/news- I go the other direction and get immersed. On the drive home, I had the radio/CD off while I drove back to SCruz, it was around 4AM when we passed through Sac. I turned it on to listen to NPR morning edition to hear what was happening outside the playa. I had secretly hoped for something big and bad to drop on W's head while we were away, and was instead saddened to hear about Russian school children and Clinton's heart. If it weren't for the screwed up world and nation sitrep, I'd avoid the news like the plague; but I can't ostrich-out and bury my head in the sand. I'm not getting angry or stressed at the news, just paying attention for the time being.

7. Get a massage.

newdawn
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Post by newdawn » Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:32 pm

even after many years, unfortunately it doesn't get any easier to decompress.

1. smile at a stranger
2. set small goals to take even more back with you during the year (don't try to change the world all at once just because you now see how possible it is)
3. realize that the downtime will pass; you just have to ride it out
4. re-connect with campmates/new friends in a patient way, after you've ridden it out.
5. give yourself plenty of time to decide if you'll return to the playa, because the "it's changed too much" negativity doesn't last long, either.

Just like on the playa, don't try to force it. You'll re-connect with your rhythm soon enough.

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Lydia Love
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Post by Lydia Love » Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:43 pm

This is a good time to make some New Years resolutions. As you get back into the swing of things look at your life and think about what it is about Burning Man that made you happy. You can find pieces of it in your day to day life.

You have to be what you want to attract. We all get to get our freak on in the desert - it's perfectly OK to tell the rest of society to fuck off some and be that lovely freaky self all the time (just don't do anything that will get you arrested). If you allow yourself to be that person other freaks will gravitate to you in time.
It's all about the squirrels.

noiseboy23
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Post by noiseboy23 » Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:57 pm

The first big re-initiation into the "real" (haha) world was the ridiculous traffic while heading home. And the humidity! Good God! My wife and I had a lot of fun honking and waving at the other Burners we passed on the freeway. They were pretty easy to spot-- covered in dust!

When we got to SF, my friends and I unloaded their car. I shouted out to see who wanted a beer after that drive. A random passerby chimed in in response- imagine his surprise when he actually got a beer and a hug! Other pedestrians were also surprised at the random eye contact and smiley greetings.

About 5 hours into the drive we stopped at the cheapest gas station on the I-5. The vibe was horrendous. Any eye contact was viewed as an invitation to act aggressively. Not a single bit of friendliness. The attendant threw my change at me. Bush's inhuman ugly mug staring out from the newsstand. I was really wigged out. Luckily my wife saw it too so I knew it wasn't just me. We got the hell out of there quick.

The next day my parents-in-law and grandma-in-law were shocked to see me come in with glasses of ice water and carrots (vegan snacks) at random. "Who are you?" they happily replied. After getting the lowdown about BM, my mother-in-law became excited and wants to go next year!

The best part about coming home was wigging people out by giving out the BM vibe to friends and strangers. I don't feel like the same person anymore, and my wife sems like a new person too. Maybe that's the best thing I can contribute to the topic, because all the other advice is great.

spider_rabbit
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post burn

Post by spider_rabbit » Wed Sep 08, 2004 7:05 pm

this year we:
1. spent Monday night in Reno and showered and ate
2. I wore my dusty boots, shorts and a hat someone gifted me to work
3. Screwed off on the internet all day reading tribe and this
4. Left work early and washed my truck
5. Put up all my pics.
6. Came back here to read about other people's experiences.

and

7. remembered to be as friendly as everyone was on the playa even in the "real" world.

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Sobretta Franjipan
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Post by Sobretta Franjipan » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:23 am

Stay drunk.

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bartolah
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Saying hello to strangers...

Post by bartolah » Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:00 pm

Heeding your advice, I've been working on saying hello to, and smiling at, strangers... So, on the bus this morning I saw this girl reading a rather depressing book I'd read some time back (the best democracy money can buy), she looked up, I said hi, we started chatting and sure enough she just got back from her first Burning Man as well! We took a moment, shared a couple of stories and jaunted off to work. And guess what, that little moment and connection, helped to keep the buzz alive and kindled - pretty sweet. The lesson here - keep on saying hi to folks!

It would be so cool if there were some little way that we could notice/identify each other as fellow burners out in the real world. I suppose that tell-tale sly smile and amused expression at the rest of the world is a start...

B
...third star to the right, and straight on till the man burns...

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dj big E
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lots of xanax

Post by dj big E » Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:17 pm

lots of xanax marijuana and just not trying to let the small shit bother you.

Mistress of Mirth
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Post by Mistress of Mirth » Tue Sep 14, 2004 12:20 am

This was the 7th time I had to drive off the playa and for some reason it was the hardest this year. Some years I seem to bounce back rather quick and start scheming for the next year...but this year....I am still completely out there. There are a lot of burners in Portland so I find myself looking at peoples shoes for playa dust, luckily in my neighborhood we seem to have a lot of dusty shoes. I am still smiling and saying hello, I cant walk out the door without finding my lip balm, bottle of water, and smokes. My appetite has not yet returned to normal and I keep eating pnut butter/jelly in tortillas. Tonight I decided that the only thing that sounded good was a friends dry sauna.....heaven....dry heat to the bones...felt like the first time I had relaxed since last Tuesday. Sigh.

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souldancer
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Post by souldancer » Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:41 am

Hey this was my first time too, and I didn't expect to take being back in the "real" world so hard! I was ECSTACTIC Tuesday morning, when I first got to work. Three hours into my shift, I got DEAD tired, and pretty sad. I didn't think I'd be so tired! I knew I hadn't gotten a lot of sleep on the playa, but I did get about 6 hours a night, and I thought that was decent...but my body disagreed, especially with all the walking, bike riding, and fun being had. So yes, lots of sleep has helped me. As far as that goes, I'm good, but I'm still kinda sad. I told one of my bosses at work about how I was going through hug withdrawl, and she's started hugging me every time she sees me! It's so great, and I really love the hugs, unfortunately her last day is on Friday! :(

One thing that has helped me greatly is knowing that I am going next year, and having the time to plan for what I want to do. It gives me something to look forward to! I too have a dog, and it was soooooo GREAT to see her after a week! So yeah, having a dog can really help also! And my daughter! They make being back worth it!

So yeah, knowing that next year is coming (it'll be here before we know it!) and having time to plan is a good thing for me. I always think I don't have enough time to get things done, and here I've got 50 weeks staring me in the face...plenty of time, if I get started now!

HEY fellow Burners.... I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!
Music is food for the soul

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