Being in my final year of university, there is a figure, a shadow even, standing two feet behind me at all times. It follows me around to remind me about dissertation, money, and life after graduation. Sometimes, my vision is so focused, and I am momentarily distracted by day-to-day life that I forget the figure is still standing there. But, it never fails to sneak into my peripheral vision at the first chance it gets. It is a constant worry that the figure is going to catch up with me, bringing with it deadlines and overdrafts. I try my best to keep that two feet separation, but something I am trying to teach myself, at the moment, is balance. Sometimes, it is okay to buy that dress and treat myself, but sometimes I do need to save every penny I can. Some days, I eat bowls of kale and chicken, and other days I demolish a packet of custard creams because they were on offer at Sainsburys! I so often beat myself up for not doing what I should be doing, but I think that there comes a point where you need to focus on things you need to do instead.
This weekend was such a perfect example of me letting that two-feet distance shorten just a little bit, but in exchange, I gave myself the time I needed with friends, enjoying myself and having fun.
My slightly obsessive nature for organisation and lists saw a drafted out version of my weekend in my head, planned days in advance. My list told me I was going to relax, be productive and study for most of my time, and get a good night’s rest to catch up on the long week. I was excited to have a productive and refreshingly quiet weekend. And then… Life kicked in! I saw my friend’s show on Saturday night, and one drink afterwards turned into drinking luxurious pints in Chelsea that we definitely could not afford, to downing coconut tequila shots in our friends bedroom in Kilburn. Fast-forward to six am Sunday morning, and I was finally stumbling home, feeling warm and fuzzy from booze and drunken chats despite the freezing morning I had walked out to. This was not part of the plan! The rest of Sunday was spent in a hungover, sleepy haze, with my bed comforting me until the late afternoon. All the things I had planned to do got thrown out the window, and instead, I watched Blue Planet and cooked my mums amazing minestrone soup.
I wanted to beat myself up for going out so late, and not getting essay work and research done. But, as I look back on my weekend now, I realise that actually, that was what I needed. Working long hours and studying this term has meant that I haven’t been able to spend much time with my friends, and this weekend was the chance to try and make up for all the pints we should have been having at the SU bar every week.
We all lead such busy lives these days, so for me, it is important to learn to not be so strict on myself. If I want to eat half a chocolate bar in one sitting, then I bloody will, and I will try not to beat myself up about it, because I know that I had a healthy and nutritious dinner! Balancing out those should’s and needs will stop that shadow catching up, so let’s all learn to read the scales.