Boring stuff that I've been doing
I always feel, personally, that if I were to write a diary-style post it would just be so effin self-indulgent and pretentious and dull and people would either be so disinterested that I would put them in jeopardy of perishing from a severe and deadly bout of boredom or so baffled by my supreme sense of self-importance that I would become a laughing stock. Not that I'm an anxious person or anything, y'know.
It's funny. I do actually pride myself quite a bit on, mostly, not really caring on what people think (mainly because growing up means realising that most people actually don't care what you're doing and partly because I never do anything interesting or off-piste, ever) and I really like reading what people are up to. All types of people. People I know. People I don't know. People who seem just like me. People who live lives oceans apart, both in geography and lifestyle. I like updates on Insta and diary blog posts and the bit at the end of Bake Off where they write what the contestants are doing now. But I've always been embarrassed of writing my own because I'm boring and don't really do anything except do a tiny bit of writing, send voice notes to my pals and think a lot about Salt and Vinegar Discos.
But isn't that a lot of life, really? Isn't it all just kind of a sprinkling of big exciting bits and dancing and late nights sewn together with a lot more reading the morning's paper on a squashed commuter train and washing out tomato sauce-stained lunchtime Tupperwares, and hopefully, if we're lucky, iced generously with the welcome stomach ache of a really good laugh and friends that send letters and the company of someone whose face you know completely, who walks, their fingers laced in yours, over every peak and trough? Maybe. I think so.
So here's my little life. My tiny, boring, quiet but quite contented and privileged life.
In the last four weeks I've started a new job in an industry that I really care about that is interesting and fun and exciting and so far, I really like it. My colleagues are kind and patient and everything is still novel and I finish at one o'clock every Friday. The plan is to use that time to write, but so far I've used it to drink prosecco and have my nails done. All the best laid plans, eh?
I've relinquished my reputation as 25 y/ old OAP and had a few late nights dancing to music I love, Red Stripe in hand and walking home to the sound of morning birdsongand had to host my parents the next day, gleefully wrangling my tea set from the back of my cupboard to serve them chocolate birthday cake and coffee. I've baked crispy sweet potatoes and batches of lentil and coconut dhal and bean chilli and spooned them into lunch boxes for me and the man I love (I told you my life was Tupperware-centric). I've stolen the throw from the sofa and sat it down on the green, enjoying the unseasonal warmth of the last few weeks to eat picnic dinners of cheese and crisps and apple slices in the waining sunshine. I've had 12 people I love around our dinner table and stuck to our resolution and felt very happy running a quiz and cobbling enough plates together to feed a crowd.
I've read some really lovely books. I've had an endless stream of podcasts playing as I run around and sweep the floors and do my new walk to work. I cheered at the marathon. I bought a pair of flares. We repotted all the plants. We wrenched all the weeds from our garden. We walked around the V&A at night and ate pizza together. I did a lot of the tiny inconsequential things that make me happy: a morning swim, some Easter chocolate, clearing out my wardrobe, having pals over for a roast, watching more Netflix documentaries than ever.
Mentally I felt pretty good, in general, maybe because the month has been relatively slow and stress-free. I mainly felt good about food and movement, even when I hurt my foot and had to take a few weeks off running and aerobic exercise. I did have a weird, anxiety-induced binge moment a couple of weeks ago, and though I was sad about it at the time, it was only because I didn't understand why it had happened. I thought I had done the work to deal with those feelings in less harmful ways, but these things happened, and it served as a little indicator to strip back to basics and figure out what was going on in my head. I did feel a bit existential crisis-ey at times, probably because I did no writing apart from the May newsletter, and a lot of evenings were pretty slumpy: dinner, sofa, telly, type of thing. No writing, no satisfaction, no creative outlet.
I went to the other side of the city and ate soft serve ice cream with old friends. We went to the seaside for the day and traipsed around like little explorers on the hunt for fish and chips. I felt quite mindless a lot of the time, a lot of scrolling, a lot of reading, a lot of noise, and maybe not enough reflection and quiet, but I have mainly been happy, if not a little mournful that I didn't do more to push myself. I really, really, really would like to stick to some kind of writing schedule and write for other people and publications, so I need to harness that regret and turn it into something productive.
It's a difficult balance to strike. A word that keeps coming to mind is: try. I so rarely actually try hard to do things. I barely ever try to stick to goals or challenge myself. I feel like I am trying, a lot of the time, to do a lot. I'm trying to be a good employee and a fun friend and keep my house clean and save some money and satisfy my love of clothes and batch cook and keep abreast of current affairs and exercise and sleep well and go dancing and be spontaneous and relax a bit and write but it always seems like something suffers. This month it was writing, and next month I'll try to make sure it's not.