Personal posts

Life has just got in the way (or how to overcome bullshit excuses for not living the life you want)

It’s been months since I last posted, and I don’t really have a decent excuse, except to say that life has rather got in the way of things.  It’s all too common for your life to get in the way of the things you want to do, which can make you incredibly miserable. There have been several occasions when I’ve taken stock of how things are going for me, quickly realising that bogged down in detail, planning and the things I’m unhappy with, I’ve not been doing enough of what I want to do, what I enjoy doing, and what I am good at. It is far easier to be stuck in an unhappy situation, moaning about how your life isn’t the way you want it to be, than it is to stand up and do something about it.

I’ve recently fallen victim to this trap, spending a lot of time waiting and wishing for the day when everything is ‘sorted’ , instead of appreciating and making the most of the life which I have now. Sure there are some things which aren’t exactly ideal; like the lack of a job and mixed emotions that have come from my time at university ending and the next chapter of my life beginning. There are a lot of good things too though, and even bigger and more importantly, there is possibility and opportunity.

Having come out of university with a 2:1 in Creative Writing, I look over my time in London so far and see just how far I’ve come, and how much I have achieved. However when that last deadline was met back in May, the last piece of work submitted and the last lecture attended, I began to subconsciously panic about the future. What’s next, and how is my life going to change now that the biggest part of it for the past four years is over? At times it has been a tangible, obvious fear, but often it’s just sitting in the back of my mind through everything I’m doing, like a sort of ominous ticking noise, subtly reminding me that the rest of my life has already started.

A lot of my friends have moved back home, if not permanently then at least for the summer, and the ones left mostly have jobs which obviously keep them busy. I am really happy for and supportive of all my friends in whatever they are doing with their lives, but it can be a little disconcerting to have everything you’ve become used to changing all at once. I’ve moved out of halls for the final time, after living there on and off throughout my entire time at uni. I love my new room, my house is great and so are my house-mates, but again it’s a complete change to what I was used to. I worked out that I’ve moved sixteen times in the past six years, and I’m getting to a stage where I’d like to be a little more settled. This house isn’t going to be a really long term thing, but I’ll stay here for a year or so if possible, and that’s enough time for me to begin building my life after uni. It’s been two months since the end of uni now, and I’ve been living here for one. I’ve had time to unpack, organise my room and start adjusting to this new way of life, now it’s time to get cracking and make things happen.

During the final year of my course I know I was pretty bad at keeping up with things which I wanted to do beyond my coursework from this blog, to editing my novel. I’ve also at times been rubbish at keeping in touch with, or giving time and attention to some of my valued friends. It’s easy to say ‘life got in the way’ but that’s not how I want to live. My friends, my writing and my other ideas and projects are the things which matter most to me, and therefore they shouldn’t come second to ‘life’, they should be an integral part of it.

Life isn’t measured only in the big things; your job or how much money you have or where you live. The everyday stuff, that we often take for granted, is what makes up a good life. The nights spent talking until the sun starts coming up, and the weekend trips to the beach. The coffee in bed every Sunday, shared with someone you love. The things that make you smile, and laugh, and feel like you belong somewhere, doing this, with these people. Those are the things which give you a good life, and I am making an effort to incorporate them into my day to day life as much as possible.

As always, for me it begins with and comes down to planning. Get a notebook. Write in it the five things which are most important to you in the world. It could be writing, or playing an instrument, or making people laugh, or your best friend. Just think of the things which you couldn’t live without, and would love to have in your life every day if it were possible. Use this as the list which guides you in your decisions. If you love painting, then find the time to paint whenever you can. If you have three cherished friends, and also really enjoy cooking, arrange to throw a dinner party once a month with them. If you put in the effort, you can have the life that you want.

My five things are as follows (in no particular order) :
1) My close friends
2) My boyfriend
3) Writing
4) Speaking out on things I’m passionate about
5) Good food

I will make time for all of these things, every week. I’m aiming to incorporate them into my life every single day, but we all have off days, and I know that if I set myself unrealistic goals and then don’t meet them, it will demotivate me to continue pursuing them. However the more mindfully I am aware of this list, the easier it will become to live a life full of the things which truly make me happy, until it is second nature. So stop making excuses now, life only gets in the way if you let it.

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