Trust the Fairies

Being in your twenties is so weird. It’s such a bizarre period of life limbo, where at any given moment you could feel as grown up and adult and You-Got-This as your parents, or as inexperienced and naive and Help-Me-Where’s-An-Adult as a tiny child.

For the most part, from toddler age to late teens, all of your friends and peers are in the same place as you emotionally, intellectually and geographically. When you’re middle aged, your friends and peers are, with a few exceptions, employed and settled with kids. But in your twenties, who even knows? I have friends still at uni, friends who are funemployed, friends who are kicking off amazing careers, friends who are married, and all of them are within three years of my own age.

All of my closest friends now live at least an hour away, which is the trouble with a combination of going to university really far away, and living in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the countryside. The majority of my contact with any of them comes through social media, which is why I will be forever grateful for Facebook despite its many pitfalls.

That said, it makes Skype calls, phone calls and those precious face-to-face meetings all the more special. I went up to London last Sunday to see a few uni friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen since last August/September, and I laughed until I cried three times in the day. It was the best day I’ve had in a long time, and the residual joy from it has buoyed me through most of this week. This coming weekend I’m off back up to Durham for the Intercollegiate Cheer Comp, because I cannot and will not let go of my love for the Trevs Cheer Squad, and the excitement of seeing my friends who are still studying up there is going to get me through the rest of this week and beyond.

I also Skyped my uni roommate on Sunday evening, and we chatted about this exact thing – being in your twenties is so strange. It feels like an awful lot of pressure sometimes, what with trying to meet society’s expectations that we will all forge a career path, find a healthy, long-term relationship, buy a house (or at least rent a nice one), and know exactly who we are and what we want from life by the time we’re 27. Not a chance, pal.

My twenties, so far, have been an absolute riot. I’ve lived in four countries, and briefly popped into several more, spoken (with varying degrees of success) three languages, met some incredible people, laughed until I’ve cried, passed my driving test, written a dissertation (and complained the whole time), graduated, travelled the USA, discovered I’m shockingly bad at paddle boarding, and managed to land myself a job and a salary. I’ve been at the highest and lowest points of my life over the past three years, and I don’t think I’d change a single moment, even the hideous ones. Most of the best memories I have came about because of things I didn’t plan, or things I agreed to at the last minute with my heart racing and my sensible side screeching. Sometimes (and forgive the hypocrisy, as I’m fully aware that I’m a huge control freak) I think you just have to sit back and have a little faith.

I don’t care what you have faith in, that’s entirely up to you. Faith in God, in the universe, in karma, in fairies and unicorns if you want to. But find faith in something, and trust it to have your back even when everything else is piling up against you. 2018 feels like it’s going to be a good year, and I don’t even know why. But I’m going to try really hard to staunch the must-control-let-me-control-I-need-to-be-in-charge urge that I have, and let  things run their course and reach the conclusion that they’re supposed to. With a lil helping nudge here and there…

Until next time, when I’ll try to be a little less Mystic Meg, K.

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New Lifestyle, Who Dis?

Pals, something wild has happened. Something unexpected and shocking to us all – I’ve become the sort of person who willingly goes to the gym three days in a row. And enjoys it. I don’t even know who I am anymore! I’m sure you’re all as astonished as I am, such drastic change never happens to me! (What do you mean, I’m ‘always this dramatic and it’s not that big of a deal’? Rude).

I was due to have my second personal training session (I get three free ones with my membership, I’m not rich enough to pay for regular personal training) last Monday, but I had to move it last minute because my grandparents came home from their month abroad (cripplingly jealous, me? Nah) and I wanted to see them. So in a moment of madness I agreed to a half hour training session at 8.30pm on a Friday. Towards the end of the day at work yesterday my mood was increasingly tipping towards ‘maybe I could just reschedule again because Friday night gym sessions are not high on my list of fun’ but honestly I felt it would be more effort to rearrange it again than to just go and only put in minimal effort, so I speed-ate dinner when I got home from work and trundled off the gym, complaining in my head the whole time. And actually, it was great.

I had a different trainer, because the first one had booked himself some holiday, selfishly, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out, neither was she, and so when she offered a choice between doing a circuit of the gym and having a go at various weird machines, or getting some boxing gloves and pads out and doing a boxing session, I opted for the boxing, predominantly because the weight machines intimidate me. And it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I would thoroughly recommend it. I think I might have finally found a form of cardio that I genuinely enjoy, although I’m not sure what it says about me that that’s punching things…

After we’d finished, the lovely trainer Lauren said she was working all weekend and if I wanted to go in again we could do some more, so I went back this morning. Me. I-hate-running, exercise-is-the-worst, did-someone-say-cake Lang. And I’ve got my core conditioning class tomorrow. Three gym sessions in three days, what have I become?

It helps, of course, that Mum and I have agreed that if we’ve done well with the fitness and weight loss stuff each month, we’ll buy ourselves some new gym wear as a reward. Ain’t no motivation like sassy leggings. I even bought myself cute lil workout gloves to protect my delicate lady hands from the grips of the weight bar. I’m going to end up buying tank tops that say Squat Goals, aren’t I?

I’ve also swapped my normal coffee for decaf in the coffee machine, as it occurred to me (duh) that caffeine probably wasn’t my bestie in terms of my anxiety. It’s only been a week and I don’t really know if I can see a difference, but we haven’t had any more epic meltdowns yet. Huge love to everyone that messaged me after last week’s post about that, by the way, I appreciate it more than I can adequately put into words (bit awkward for a blogger).

I’ve got a colleague coming over for Sunday lunch tomorrow, as he’s German and has never had a classic British roast dinner. I’m feeling the pressure on creating the perfect example of a Sunday roast. Yorkshire pudding with the dinner is a must (even though it’s lamb not beef, #controversial), as are more roast potatoes than any decent human being ought to consume in one sitting – what was that about my new virtous, healthy lifestyle? If anyone has any further suggestions as to how to create a first-class example of the British Sunday Lunch, let me know!

For now, I shall reward my heroic gym-going efforts by slobbing out on the sofa in my onesie and catching up on Silent Witness and Death In Paradise and trying to ignore the carton of custard in the fridge *immediately retrieves custard from fridge*.

Until next time, K.

Coping Mechanisms

I don’t know if I’m going to post this. It’s definitely an overshare, but the conclusion has been reached that I need to find a coping mechanism for my anxiety, so I’m going to write it all down and maybe I’ll share it with the approximately six people who might read it.

I had a panic attack at work today. Full-on, choking sobs, I can’t really breathe meltdown panic attack. They’re horrible, and I thankfully have them very rarely, but when they hit they leave me drained emotionally and often also physically. And with a throbbing tension headache that I still have. Which is not ideal in the middle of the day at my place of employment.

The one colleague that caught me in the very beginning of crumbling and swiftly herded me into the empty meeting room handled my dramatics remarkably well, despite the mild panic clear in his eyes. Which I completely understand, because when faced with someone who’s crying and shaking too hard to speak or breathe, it’s tricky to know how to react if you’re not used to it.

Trouble is, I don’t really know what’s brought it on. Okay, yes, I had a lot to do at work today and I wasn’t fully confident doing all of it and I think maybe it was that final New Project email that tipped me over the edge, but I’ve had days like that before that have not led to me being gently but firmly kicked out of the office to go for a walk and pull myself together. So I’m not sure what’s triggered it exactly, which means I’m not sure how to try to remedy it.

Low-level anxiety has been a fun lil friend of mine for a long time. It’s usually not a problem, and mostly only kicks in and tightens up my lungs in situations involving phone calls or rooms full of strangers. Public speaking is also pretty much a no-go zone. But that’s not uncommon, many, many people have similar reactions to these things. It’s been a while since I’ve been unable to get my panic response under control, and that frightens me.

There’s a good chance that this is due to the medication that I’m on for my acne, which is known to have side effects including depression and heightened emotions. If that’s the problem, and my increased lack of control is Accutane-based, I have a whole new problem. I can’t tell the doctor that the medication is causing emotional problems, because they’ll take me off it, and my skin won’t improve, which in turn will cause emotional problems. Can’t really win.

If I know that the extra anxiety is caused by the Accutane, to an extent I can keep a better handle on it because I know it’s coming. But what happens when the course of medication stops, and I still have anxiety? What happens when I still freak out over phone calls, what happens when I can’t put myself in uncomfortable but ultimately beneficial situations, what happens when I don’t have control over my own emotions?

See, I think that the problem, at its core, is my insecurity about what other people think of me. Once I’d calmed down today, my first strong reaction was embarrassment that my colleague had seen me like that. Embarrassment that I’d had to call my mum and blubber down the phone about how overwhelmed I felt. Embarrassment that at the age of 23 I couldn’t hold back the tears in a place where I was supposed to be professional and capable. Because I’m worried about how people’s perception of me might change for the worse if they think I’m too pathetic to cope. I have anxiety about my anxiety.

It’s hard to let people help, sometimes, because there’s an undercurrent of ‘how annoying are you being right now, that your poor friend has to waste so much of their day putting up with you. You’re not entitled to sympathy. You don’t deserve people to care about your problems, they’re not problems, you’re just weak‘. Anxiety’s a pervasive little bastard, sitting in the corner of every room you’re in telling you that everyone else in that room is thinking negative things about you. On a normal day, the rational side of my brain can tell these insidious thoughts to shove it. I keep a tightly locked, bolted and padlocked lid on the box in my brain that houses these thoughts, but sometimes, just sometimes, someone takes a bolt cutter to the rationality box and it all comes flooding out in hysteria.

It’s interesting to me, however, that small things can trigger it but in much the same way, small things can help. Having wandered around a park for a while and called my mum to just blurt it all out and then compose myself, I popped into a coffee shop to buy myself a hot chocolate, because sometimes anxiety needs a hug and sometimes it needs breathing techniques and sometimes you need to punch something, but sometimes it just needs sugar. I ordered, and paid for, a small, but when the barista handed it to me his accompanying words were ‘oh, oops, look at that, I’ve made a large’. Fragile and covered in thousands of delicate spidery cracks as my composure was, I almost lost it again at that small kindness, but it also boosted my mood no end even without the extra sugar.

I don’t really know where I go from here. There’s not really a quick fix for insecurities and an inability to cope when overwhelmed. It’s probably a good thing that people at work know, despite me being a bit ashamed of it, because this way maybe I don’t have to bottle it up anymore, and maybe the sheer thought that I have the freedom to have a panic attack will in fact prevent any future spectacular meltdowns. I hope.

There wasn’t much point to this blog post, and if you’ve made it this far I’m very impressed, but writing everything down has helped. I feel better at the end of writing this than I did at the start, although there’s still a slight feeling that if you’re reading this, you’re reading it with derision at how ridiculous I am. But that’s okay, you’re allowed to think that. Just maybe don’t tell me, hm?

Until next time, K

Olfactory Memory

Lads, I think today might be the sweatiest I have ever been (I know, this is something you really wanted to know about me. You’re so welcome). I’m convinced I must have lost at least half a stone in sweat. Clubbercise tonight was pretty much just 45 minutes of jumping around, and I both hated and loved it. I had to drive home with my air conditioning on its coldest. In January.

Happily, I can already feel my stamina improving in this class. Now I can get through at least three tracks before I lose the ability to properly control my limbs as I flail them around. I really never thought I’d become the kind of person who enjoys exercise, and blathers on about endorphins and all that blah blah, but actually I really do enjoy both the Clubbercise and the Core Conditioning classes that I do. I still hate running though. I don’t think anything in the world could persuade me to enjoy running.

The main thing that struck me this evening, however, was not that I can now still breathe after three minutes of star jumps. It was that the corridor to the changing rooms smelled like rugby players. And I don’t know why I immediately recognised it as specifically that, but that’s definitely what it was. Sweaty, muddy rugby boys. I was really thrown by how familiar the smell was, and how instantly the memories of standing on a freezing cold pitch in Durham in November, and running up the stairs to the secondary school changing rooms in winter, came flooding into my mind.

I’ve been thinking about it all evening since. Olfactory memory (smell memory. Yes, I definitely googled it because I thought it would be a schmancier title for this post) is astonishingly powerful. Have you ever been somewhere completely new, and yet smelt something familiar and spent ages trying to work out where you remember it from? Ever walked past a place, or a person, and been hit by a scent that brings back memories so powerful they floor you? It’s weird, in a way, because I don’t think we ever really pay attention to smells, subtle ones that surround us without our notice, but they lodge themselves so firmly in our brains that the slightest whiff of that same smell ten, twenty years down the line transports you straight back to being eight years old and running down a hotel corridor in Alsace.

There are certain smells which will always be comforting to me. My Nana has smelled the same to me every day of my life, as has her house. Houses have really disctinctive scents, although you don’t always notice them. When we  moved house, the only time I’ve ever done so (excluding student housing at uni which doesn’t really count), I initially had trouble accepting the new house because it didn’t smell the same. If I were ever to go back to our old house, I expect I’d have the same problem. It’ll smell like someone else’s life now. I rescued an old shirt of my Grandad’s a few years ago that he was trying to throw away. It’s far too big on me and is probably my favourite item of clothing. I wear it like a protection blanket on days when I feel low, and it perks me up. It still has the faintest traces of my Grandad’s smell on it, although I’ve worn and washed it so often now that it’s mostly gone, which is a little upsetting to me. I might give it back to my Grandad for a week so I can get the smell back, because it’s such a comfort.

It’s a shame, almost, that you can’t capture a smell in the same way you can a photograph or piece of film. It would be great if you could play a video clip and be able to smell everything as well as see it. Although maybe then we really wouldn’t ever have to leave our own living rooms, which would be a travesty!

Until next time, K

 

 

Beating the Blues

“Don’t be sad” is some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard. Most times, it comes from a good place, from someone who cares about you and genuinely wishes you weren’t feeling down, but maybe hasn’t fully thought through how to be helpful. However, sometimes it comes from people who are impatient that you’re not on their level of joy, that your misery is going to bring them down too, and so the quick brush-off is “well just don’t be sad”. It’s like saying “don’t be hungry”. Hate to break it to you, but hunger happens to me without my agreement, and no amount of cajoling will make me not hungry. You know what will make me not hungry? Food. And just like you have to feed your body when it’s hungry, I think you have to feed your soul when it’s sad (is that the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever said? It’s probably up there).

Today is apparently ‘Blue Monday’, the most miserable day of the year. It’s chucking with rain, we’re all broke and ages away from payday, most New Year’s Resolutions have failed and we’re all feeling more than a tad low. So what can we do to beat the blues?

I would like to just point out that anything I say here relates to mild sadness or feeling a bit rubbish. I’m not talking about medical depression, which I am entirely unqualified to talk about but I know definitely cannot be cured by “oh cheer up”. Everyone’s got their own coping mechanisms for their own moods, but if January’s getting you down, here are a few things that usually make me feel better, so maybe they’ll help you too.

  • Have a bath. “Ew, no, sitting in your own dirt!” “Ugh, too much effort” “Too girly and pathetic” “But it’ll just get cold”. No. Hush. If you don’t like baths, you’re not doing them properly. Run an almost-too-hot bath, whack in an obscene amount of bubbles and a fun-coloured, glittery, yummy-smelling bath bomb, light some candles, put on some music, take a book (don’t drop it in the water. Lang’s books 0, bathwater 7), furnish yourself with some chocolate and a glass of wine and enjoy your frothy, sparkly tub of joy.
  • Revisit a childhood favourite. I can’t actually remember how I discovered this, but did you know that every series of Power Rangers is on Netflix? I loved Power Rangers as a child, and I have to tell you that as a 23-year-old, it is blissfully ridiculous. Good guys always win, bad guys always get their comeuppance or their redemption. There are lots of bad special effects and pyrotechnics and makeup. There’s a plethora of dreadful nineties and early noughties fashion, and you don’t need to pay any attention to the plot. Just let the teenagers in brightly coloured morph suits save the world an implausible number of times in a week and relax. You could equally revisit your favourite childhood book, or film, or video game, whatever. Just go nostalgia-wild.
  • Look at photos that make you happy or remind you of times you were happy. I’m putting all of my photos, tickets, show programmes, birthday cards, and you-name-it-I-have-its from Durham into an album, and looking back through all the memories is glorious. There’s a photo of us all building a den on the landing in first year that fills up my heart with happiness.
  • Have a disco. Put on your favourite tunes, crank up the volume and dance around without a care in the world. Get others involved if you like, have a blast. Crack out your best (worst) dance moves, dance until you’re breathless, giggling and slightly more cheerful. Sing along. Put on a West End-worthy show in your kitchen. My second-year housemates used to blast either Destiny’s Child or the Wicked soundtrack, depending on the day, and belt out the words and dance around our teeny tiny student kitchen and it was a delight to watch and occasionally participate in.
  • Wear what makes you feel good. If you know it’s going to be a bad day, set yourself up to face it with your bravest face on. For me, that means clothes that make me feel sassy and bold lipstick (although I’m on Accutane for my acne at the moment and my lips are so dry that I can’t wear lipstick #firstworldproblems). At work today, all of my colleagues were in predominantly grey, black or navy, and then there was me in bright purple, anti-Blue-Monday trousers.
  • Do a workout. If exercise and endorphins is what works for you, do it. Hit the gym, go for one of those hideous ‘run’ things that crazy people claim to enjoy, join a class that sounds like fun. Do a boxing class if you think you need to hit something. Go for a swim and let the water support you. Nothing ever seems as bad when you’re floating.
  • Just go to bed. Sleep is a wonderful, wonderful thing. If it’s really one of those days that just keeps kicking you while you’re down, and you come home and you don’t want to talk to anyone, see anyone, do anything, that’s okay. Write off the day and go to bed with a hot water bottle and a hot chocolate. Cry if you need to. Call your mum if you need to. Hide under your duvet and cuddle your soft toy or your pillow and just sleep.

Blue Monday apparently started off as a PR stunt, so it’s all nonsense anyway.

On a completely unrelated note, I went to the History of Magic Exhibition at the British Library this weekend and it was AMAZING. My lil nerd heart could barely cope, it was a combination of Harry Potter and weird spiritual, mythical history, it was a thing of beauty. I don’t have any souvenirs though, because photos were banned and the gift shop was outrageously expensive, but that’s okay. Who needs a £40 jumper with a phoenix on it? (Me. I need it. I almost want to go back and buy the scandalously-priced thing). So thanks to the beautiful curators at the British Library who put it all together.

Until next time, K.

The British-est

I did a very, very British thing today. The single most British thing I have probably ever done, and I have to tell you I am an excellent queuer.

We all make coffee/tea rounds for each other at work, as I am employed by a small company with an even smaller kitchen and more than two people in it at once is disastrous, hence, make a drink for your office if you’re making one for yourself. And today, someone made me a cup of tea.

The horror. The outrage. The disaster. (I’m joking. Mostly). I don’t drink tea, to the dismay of, well, almost every other Brit. Every other non-Brit, at that, devastated that I don’t fit the stereotype. I will drink some teas. Mint tea, I am a fan of. Earl Grey, now and then, is cracking. I just really don’t enjoy your average cuppa, with apologies to Queen and Country for my treachery.

The trouble is, being British despite my tea-defect, I didn’t dare say ‘Oh sorry, I actually asked for coffee’. I didn’t dare try to pop back downstairs and subtly re-make a drink to my own specifications. I certainly didn’t dare just leave an entire cup of tea sitting on my desk to go cold, like a beacon going ‘WRONG WRONG WRONG’. So I drank it.

Oh, the Britishness. Forced into drinking tea because I was too polite to do otherwise. I might end up drinking it regularly, if my nice, kind, tea-making colleague keeps forgetting that I’ve screeched ‘COFFEE PLEASE’ down the stairs. I’ll end up liking the stuff, like how my mother has basically brainwashed my tastebuds into accepting sprouts. The Tea will get us all in the end.

If anyone’s interested in how my not-Resolutions are going, it’s a mixed bag. I haven’t posted any oh-no-why-does-my-chin-do-that selfies on instagram, but that’s more because I haven’t had cause to take a selfie, not because I despise my own face.

I’m reading a little more frequently, although some evenings I do still head for scrolling instagram or watching Youtube. But I think that’s probably okay, variety is the spice of life, bla bla. I’ve finished a book, which was alright but not spectacular. I think the trouble is that I currently have a four-page Word doc consisting of books I’d like to read, into which I whack any and every book title that ever catches my eye and then forget about them until my Mum buys me a few for birthdays/Christmases, by which time I have no idea what the book contains or why I wanted to read it. This has led to some great reads, some average reads, and so far just the one book that I’ve completely given up on halfway through. It’s amusing having every new book be a surprise. My ever-growing list is open to suggestions!

My most successful decision has been the exercise. So far I’m making good use of the money spent on a gym membership. Mum and I did a core conditioning class on Sunday, which in and of itself was pretty grim, but we did it straight after a swim, which was a Serious Error. Laughing still hurts. I’ve also signed up to do a class every Tuesday evening called, hilariously, ‘Clubbercise’. We all get given glowsticks, they turn off the main lights and we do aerobic dance in disco strobe lighting. It’s as bizarre and wonderful as it sounds, but it’s also an absolute killer. One of the tracks is basically four variations of jumping for three and a half minutes, by the end of which I genuinely fear for my lungs. It’s great.

So I’m trucking along with my New Year New Me, although I’m not sure at what point it becomes This Year This Me. I suppose maybe it’s the point at which I don’t crawl out of the gym and sit in my car until the worst of the blotchiness has gone down and my skin is no longer so hot that I can’t put my glasses on to drive home. That seems like a reasonable benchmark.

Until next time, K.

Resolutions

Happy New Year!

I’ve always found the concept of New Year’s Resolutions a little tricky. I don’t often come up with any, beyond the usual vague ‘get healthier’ nonsense that never goes anywhere because it’s not a concrete goal. I’ve either made small, inconsequential resolutions that didn’t matter when they failed three weeks in, or not made any due to my belief that they would, as previously evidenced, fail before the month was out. I think there’s too much pressure around capitalised Resolutions. You feel so much worse if you don’t achieve whatever goal you (or someone else, let’s not pretend some people don’t snidely suggest that this year ‘maybe you ought to make *insert insulting comment here* your resolution) have set. Failure in these Resolutions is often inevitable, as they are overly vague, or too ambitious, or frankly unrealistic. One year I resolved to save all of my pocket money and go on holiday all by myself. I was about nine years old. Three weeks in I bought a book that I wanted and kissed my dream of the Caribbean goodbye.

That said, I can easily see the appeal of the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ thing. Few better opportunities for a total overhaul present themselves than the blank slate that is a New Year, although this notion seems to incorrectly assume that nothing and no one that you have done or known from one year will carry over to the next. A total restart is rarely possible, but progress is.

With that in mind, I have, perhaps against my better judgement, resolved to do several things this year. I’m not calling them Resolutions, as if I might be able to trick my psyche into persevering with them a little longer if the pressure of commitment and threat of failure aren’t hanging over it all.

I went to the cinema this afternoon, to finally see the new Star Wars film (it was superb, if anyone’s wondering. My love for Oscar Isaac has cemented itself). In honour of this, my hair is in double buns as a Princess Leia tribute, and I’m wearing a t-shirt that has a little R2-D2 on it. I took about 30 selfies of this to try to document it on instagram, hated every single one of them and deleted them all. And then spent a few minutes wondering what was so wrong with my face that I couldn’t take a single decent picture, and bemoaning my utter lack of photogenic-ness (it’s a word, shh) and generally hating instagram and my face in equal measure. Then I pulled myself together and spent a self-righteous few minutes deciding that it was all instagram’s fault and the social media tyrant would not win and I would rise above it all and never take another selfie because it was so narcissistic. I got over that stage quite quickly too, and I’m currently at this – my face is my face, fundamentally it will never change, and I should probably care a little bit less about whether I have a weird angle on one cheek, or a wonky smile. After all, I was only trying to show my t-shirt!

So that’s my first decision – try to care less about what other people think of my social media platforms. Post the selfie with the weird, scrunchy face because it’s not the focal point. Put up photos of my hideously ugly creased-up, double-chinned laughing face because I’m laughing and that’s the crucial bit. Social media has its traps, but it also has many benefits – I know what my friends who live miles away from me are up to and how they’re feeling. And, on a more trivial but frankly no less important note, I would have missed the Taskmaster Champion of Champions programme had I not seen Greg Davies tweet about it. Sidenote, if you’ve not seen Taskmaster, you absolutely must. It’s an obscure show on Dave that is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

My second decision is, as ever, the vaguery that is ‘get healthier’. Lose weight, gain muscle tone, fit into my jeans better, stop hating the size labels in my clothes (although truly this is more a women’s fashion manufacturer problem than a me problem), get rid of some jiggle, eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc, etc. Any and all of the above, plus much more, all fall into the ‘get healthier’ category and it can be overwhelming to try to do it all, so I have chosen to focus on ‘get fitter’.  I have paid for a gym membership, and intend to do classes three-four times per week after work. I loathe running with all my being, so I need to join some sort of Zumba or similar class where I could almost have enough fun to forget that I’m exercising. Mostly my aim is to no longer be out of breath when I reach the top of the measly two flights of stairs I have to climb at work, but being a bit stronger wouldn’t hurt.

I’m aiming to read more, and read more of a variety of things. I spent a lot of time at uni moaning about how I had so much academic reading and work to do that I had no time for recreational reading. So what do I do when I’m out of education and have whole weekends free to read? I sleep in until 11am, watch a few episodes of something on Netflix, spend hours trawling the internet for nonsense like ‘Which Star Wars Character are you?’ (Poe Dameron, thanks very much) and go to bed later than I should, struggling to fall asleep because I’ve been staring at a screen all day. I have several unread books on my overflowing shelves, and I keep not reading them, buying more because I think I’m interested and then not reading those either. So I’m going to try to read for half an hour every night just before I go to sleep, and more at the weekends, and hopefully this will have the added bonus of creating a steady sleep schedule that means I’m not ignoring my alarms at the weekend and ruining my sleeping pattern.

My final decision is this, this blog. I found that I really, really enjoyed writing about my Year Abroad and subsequent travels (that co-authored blog here, for anyone interested), but I didn’t feel it was appropriate to use that blog to blabber on about my everyday, non-travel, rural-Sussex life, so here we are. I wasn’t sure about doing this, since really I’m not sure anyone cares that much about my opinions, but prompted by my friend Ben and my Uncle Dave, I’m going to do it anyway (here’s hoping you two are reading, otherwise I’ve very possibly lost my entire readership). My writing style tends more towards unfiltered streams of thought and the occasional made-up word than carefully created, purposeful text, I tend to just jump in and start talking about things without any introduction, and I definitely over-use brackets, but I think it will be fun for me. And that’s what the resolution is all about, really, is finding something that I will enjoy without being accountable for anything, or owing anyone anything. Nothing hangs on when and if I write a post, and what I write it about. I can just write, for me.

So there we go, my goals for the coming year. I’ll let you know how they’re coming along. In the meantime, I’m struggling to decide how to sign off. Grammar tips worked quite well on the other blog, but they’re not quite the right fit here. Inspirational quotes seem a bit much, as does any sort of life advice.

Let’s just go with: until next time, K.