In a 1995 interview in Mother Jones magazine, Gloria Steinem proposed a way to avoid burnout that I think we try to follow in schools–that may be getting harder all the time–that is crucial for our children. It is why I try to note and appreciate each time I see something positive happening. Otherwise the struggles and worries are all that stay in my mind at the end of a day.
….There’s that joke, you know, that death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down. Well, burnout is a way of telling you that your form of activism was perhaps not very full circle. If we want a world in which you can tell jokes and get massages and have sex and dress however you fucking well please, then we have to create a form of activism that reflects that, and have fun while we’re doing it.
Actually the women’s movement has been pretty good at that, but we constantly get sucked back towards the culture in order to prove Seriousness. So we have to be conscious of the fact that as Gandhi said, and Martin Luther King said, and Emma Goldman said, and everybody else in the world who has had this experience has concluded, it isn’t that the end justifies the means, it’s that the means are the ends. And if we can do that, you see, it makes for joy, and mind-expansion, and friendships, and jokes in the process. And that means we can go on forever.