How I’m making 2024 last longer

 

Photo by Daniel Buckle on Unsplash

Happy new year! It’s still appropriate to say that, right?

January is grey and bleak. You’re broke, fat, depressed, and severely conscious of how far away you are from whatever goals you set 365 days ago, and the 365 before that. You can’t fathom where the entire previous year went; it all feels like a blur that passed you by far too quickly, and you’re desperate to go back in time to savour each and every minute you let waste away. But you can’t.

Cue the blues.

This is a feeling that, sadly, escapes almost none of us. No matter how fully you have lived, no matter how happy you are with how you spent the year, you’re always left with that gut-punching feeling of time is slipping from me. It’s painfully obvious that there’s only one solution to this, because unfortunately nobody has come into possession of Bernard’s watch:

Make the decision to live slowly and more consciously.

You can’t go back and relive those precious days, but you can do something with your newfound self-awareness. I like to think I do this already, but, in my desperate attempt, I actually end up doing the opposite.

My mind is always going at a thousand miles an hour and I wring my days dry until I’ve squeezed out every minute. The result is that I don’t feel like I’ve truly been living; I’ve simply ticked a lot of boxes off my to-do lists. In trying to be productive every day, I’ve ultimately made a full time job out of living in which I must fill a quota in order to be satisfied with how my day went. Wake up. Go to the gym. Go to work. Read this many pages. Go to the park on that day. These days don’t add up to a successful period of living: they are confined to what they are, which is a day of robotically doing things I pencilled in just to feel like I am making use of my time. I need to stop clocking in and out of my life and just live.

Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash.

I am obsessed with poring over my calendar to make sure every waking minute is filled with useful things — but I don’t want to just have useful days. Those aren’t memorable. Reading and writing and a hundred walks through Richmond Park are not memorable; it is not the act itself that we remember, but the memories we attach to them. It’s the lessons in strength and perseverance that hundreds of characters have displayed in varying ways, it’s learning how to get our thoughts down on paper in creative ways, it’s when we stepped ankle deep in mud to get close to the deer and had to put our shoes into plastic bags before getting into my car. My point is, you should be living life and relishing both the ups and downs rather than letting it pass you by.

The way you do this will be personal to you. You should know how to ground yourself, you will know what makes you feel present and alive. It doesn’t have to be something monumental; it could be as small as sitting outside for ten minutes a day or as big as spending a weekend swimming in the ocean every month.

For me, it is the following:

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On Making the Most of Winter

Despite the incessant moaning and groaning of English Folk (read: Londoners, mostly) on the odd super cold day, I actually feel like winter has been quite forgiving so far this year. In fact, I admit I’ve woken up some mornings saying ‘Hey. You know what? I could go for a walk today because it’s so crisp and delicious outside!’ And, though my nose feels like an ice cube, I am content. I seem to have foregone the usual bout of SAD this year, though I’m unsure if that’s partly because of my recovery time off work.

Nevertheless, winter, to me, is a time for doing almost nothing outdoors except the bare minimum. Yes, the Christmas markets are up and running, enticing us to leave our cosy homes for promises of a bustling, vibrant atmosphere that includes Mariah Carey playing much too loudly on a speaker nobody can locate and a £7 hot chocolate that we could have made at home without being sardine-packed on the Piccadilly Line. But what else is there to do outside this cute, expensive little activity?

There is many a festive menu across all restaurants, and enough limited martinis that now have a generous sprinkling of icing sugar snow dusted on the side of the glass. We’re being reminded that, actually, there is a lot to leave your house for, guilted into staying indoors instead of venturing into the cold. It’s December and I haven’t even been to any Christmas markets! Or the outdoor ice-rink! I haven’t been to see a single flashing light and I’ve missed Winter Wonderland, a heaving extortionate waste of time that I now have to pay and queue up for!

So anyway, I’ve thought about the winter goals I have that don’t necessarily mean doing festive things because, truly, I very much enjoy the weather that forces me to stay indoors. What a shame, I can’t go outside, it’s raining. Damn it. Actually, I’m blissfully happy laying in bed with the lightbulb red, asking Alexa to play metal while I write, so I can really feel like I’m in a dungeon. Can’t do that when it’s sunny at 8pm.

I would, on a normal day, like to have some mulled wine and chestnuts, but it’s not something I’m going to pen down and venture into the crap weather and ginormous crowds for; don’t get me started on Christmas crowds because I’m exhausted just thinking about them. There are plenty of indoor and introspective goals to be achieved in Winter, especially for an introverted dopamine-chasing hermit who absolutely loves their own company and will look for any excuse to stay indoors.

Here are my five winter goals. Let me know if you have any of your own that I can draw inspiration from!

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9 Things to do when your date starts rapping in the car

The evening went amazingly well, even better than your week of fantasies thought it would; each night of charming conversation from the moment you swiped right all culminating to this very moment, the way God intended. A candlelit dinner ending in laughter over wine and a shared tiramisu, a walk along the river with his hand on the small of your back; you exchanged stories about your youth, he told you his mother would just love you. The chemistry is off the charts and you can’t wait to go home all giddy and starry-eyed.

Now you’re in his car. And he’s rapping.

The fire has been blanketed and you’re dryer than his mouth during the five minutes he’s spent delivering rhyming couplets to you and you’re looking for a swift exit. You’re too gobsmacked, too stunned to ask him why, why are you subjecting me to this? so you endure until it’s time to go home and get back on T*nder.

Unfortunately, it will most definitely happen again. Fortunately, you can keep these tips handy for the next time you’re trapped behind the bars of an unwarranted fire-in-the-booth session. Read more

Ridiculous things I've heard this Ramadan

Except this time, they’re from Muslims.

We’re halfway through Ramadan and I can’t tell whether it’s going really fast or really slow. It’s harder, I cannot lie. I am but a shell of myself, a zombie going into work with shit skin and minimal words. I see everything 3 seconds after it actually happens.

I think I wrote something last year-ish about questions I’ve heard during Ramadan in general. I’ve grown up since then. I’m older, wiser, angrier. Very impatient. I have no time for ignorance and stupid people, and the more time I spend on twitter, watching the influx of 17-21 year olds spew their bullshit, I’m seeing more ridiculous opinions and lack of education. Lack of self-awareness. Lack of consideration. Kids these days really look for any reason to be offended – it’s like they enjoy the idea of being oppressed, they get a kick out of being controversial for no reason. I feel like an old angry lady waving her stick around at the children outside for being too loud. But in my old age and wisdom, I’ve also learnt to be much more tolerant. I know, it sounds so ironic given my impatience. But I’m more forgiving, less judgemental; I adopt more of a ‘let people be’ stance. So let people be. Except people who stay stupid things.
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Don’t owe you shit, bitch leave me alone

Sometimes you get a little click in your head. Sometimes it’s followed by more clicks. Sometimes it’s a long succession of little clicks, and they happen so rapidly that you think it’s just one big click and you can’t locate the source. So you ignore it. But tonight, I’m gonna tell you that you must absolutely fucking not ignore it.

Anyway, girls and guys, this post is about what we are absolutely NOT doing in 2019. Or henceforth, or even yesterday, because time is a manmade concept. Read more

Damn what a pity fam [10 hard truths]

Haha, is that me?
I’ve been so busy recently, but at the same time… not. I’ve been speaking to more people, landing myself in new situations and, more often than not, have been increasingly finding myself staring into an imaginary camera. Some days I’m Jim. Other days I’m Michael. But most days I’m Jim. I am, however, always Patrick Bateman… And Dwight.
There are things I believe that I thought were common sense, but obviously not. I quit my job, I reconnected with people, I decided I was gonna be done with bullshit once and for all, and, as of recently, have decided to become the me I always tried to be. Uncensored and transparent. You thought you liked me before, wait till you see me now!!!!!!!
So I guess this post is inspired by the reason I have so many frown lines, and the reason I look into the aforementioned imaginary camera. Sometimes you just want to pick someone up and shake them and scream ‘I JUST WANT WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU’ but you can’t because you’re 5″2, so you have to settle with a rant on WordPress.
Let’s go, the clock is ticking.
Institutional education doesn’t make you a better or a worse person  Read more