Dot Dot Dot

Its 3:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon. I am currently sitting in my Primarni dressing gown watching reruns of gossip girl on Netflix. There are three empty mugs of tea on the coffee table in front of me, evidence of my not-so-productive day. Prospects of me not leaving the house are strong. Put this on repeat and you have the vision of my week, aside from the occasional outings to Sainsbury’s to top up my milk and chocolate supplies. I have nothing to do, and nowhere to go.

The dissertation is done. It’s funny how the devilish reputation of writing a dissertation is so underwhelming, yet so accurate. I found the process of writing my dissertation a lot less stressful than my misconceptions of the task led me to believe. I was imagining sleepless nights fuelled by sugar and caffeine, or even worse, alcohol, to finish the ma-husive challenge of writing 10,000 academic words. In reality, it was more like a nagging ache that kind of just hung around, forcing you to think about it all the time. I spent hours in the library researching, note taking and writing, yet when I came home in the evenings to unwind, the ache would guilt me into thinking I was wasting time. As the weirdly organised person I am, I managed to space my work out enough that I was only editing and referencing in my last three weeks. There was no huge rush, or breakdown, or crisis, just a dull ache that kept me on my toes for the past 3 months. Yet, in reality, the stress and pressure of not fucking-it-up makes it the huge and scary task that it is. A weird combination, really.

Then, hand-in day came, and my flatmates and I were two bottles of prosecco down when we gleefully took our proud pictures and handed it in (at 11am might I add). A haze of fizz, Weatherspoon’s and sunshine followed, the feeling of no responsibility elating us to a dizzy drunkenness. The next day arrived, and suddenly it dawned on us all… What’s next? What do we do with our lives now that we don’t have to be stock piling library books in our bedrooms? What do we do now that we can ramble on about a ridiculously specific theatre issues for days on end, yet don’t have to anymore? What do we do now that we have nothing to do?

Well… flash foward a week later, and here I am. There are biscuit crumbs on my jumper, and the kettle is on for tea number 4. The momentary lack of responsibility has been a joy but now I must move on. And so, the job seeking begins, applying for anything and everything that doesn’t sound too laborious (the glamorous jobs of a graduate, hey?). I have to admit though, I am so excited to begin this new part of my life. I cannot wait to truly find out where I want to be, find out what jobs I like and don’t like, and found out how I can fit in to a little corner of the jigsaw of London. I am ready to leave behind jobs for money, and start doing jobs for me, and for my career.

Basically, I am just fucking excited to get out there and do stuff, however keen and naive that may seem right now. I mean, come back to me in two months time when I still haven’t found a job, and I may have changed my tune, but for now, I am riding my high of unknowing possibilities!…Just maybe once the next episode of Gossip Girl finishes.

Balance

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.