Even under the perfect conditions there's no guarantee you're going to out-best yourself each time. What you went through was far from ideal. You still gave it hell with all that shit coming at you so you get a big Atta Girl for even completing what you set out to do.
As for being happier, that comes from within. We all push, sometimes too hard and always want to improve but at the end of the day, after you emptied your tank you take a look in the mirror and say, "Fuuk ya that looks good".
I would give the next show a shot since most of the work is already in the books. And fuuk the NPC and those crazy membership fees.