‘This year is going SO quick!’
‘Can you believe it’s September already?’
‘I say this EVERY year but this year I mean it’
‘It’s like I blinked and the whole month went!’
‘Hehe almost Christmas!’ (I don’t mind this one as much because ❤ crimbo)
Why oh why, my fellow Britainoiates (Brit-o-ney-ates, my own word) are we so obsessed with this? I think I’ve had this conversation every couple of days since I was old enough to understand days.
Deep down I am fully aware it’s harmless and it is just a byproduct of our weird social conditioning alongside moaning about queuing and our obsession with the weather. Most of the time I brush it of and agree ‘wow yes, time has passed, look at this anomaly’. Some of the time, especially on days when my anxiety feels like being particularly brutal..it leads to brain overdrive and can trigger a bunch of stuff that on reflection can seem pretty silly, but at the time feels very serious.
It’s nearly the end of the year and what have I done? I’m getting older and look where I am? Is this success? What is success? Should I have mini Charlottes? Wow I’m really single though. I’m still studying, thats ok right? How is it SEPTEMBER. I need to get my shit together. Why did I spend last Saturday in bed? I have too much to do. Ok this is stupid. Calm down, you are great. OK but you can be greater look at all this time you are wasting? Am I even successful? I should look for others jobs. I still haven’t learnt Spanish! I want to travel the world, can I save this in 3 days? Time is running out isnt it? I wonder if I’ll get married? Fuck I have so much shit to do but I’m basically dead already. Look at your age mates, why are you so behind? Am I behind? What is behind? I wonder what I’ll be doing at 30? Wow I’m basically 30? WHY IS IT TAKING ME SO MUCH LONGER TO DO ALL THE STUFF. I’m going to run a marathon in two days because why havent I done that already. Shouldn’t I have my own house? Do I want my own house? Where will I live? Do I like the UK? I should move countries. I should definitely start looking at different jobs. I DONT KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO FOREVER. I should know what I want to do for the next fifty years of my life right? Will I even live 50 years. Wow fifty years isnt even that long I am over half of that now.
I could go on because my brain goes on and thats just a tiny snippet of a loop. I convince myself that I am running out of time and I am wasting my time and I should have achieved 65936 things by now and I am the least doer of all things great in comparison to all humans. I have had this my entire life, which is why, I have always worked 700 hours, slept once a week and crammed as many activities as I possibly can to the point I am running on caffeine and delirium LOOK AT ALL THE FUN I AM HAVING.
Which is why I am especially proud to have stuck to leaving my current job, to ‘slow’ a bit but genuinely, I don’t think I know how. Today for example, I was looking at fitting in voluntary work around two jobs and studying and genuinely said to myself ‘its ok, you’ll have sunday mornings of until 1pm’. Wow, so kind, so generous to give myself four hours per week spare time. I just closed all the tabs and had a word with myself.
It’s like I have fabricated an imaginary sand-timer and I am watching it slowly run out. Whats going to happen when it runs out? Absolutely nothing BECAUSE IT IS NOT REAL. It’s very odd because I have never been the kind of person who said I would get married by a certain age or be in a certain position. I know I ‘started’ things (uni, driving etc)much later due to how I grew up and how much harder I had to work in my teenage years in comparison to ‘the norm’ but I have developed age-self-consciousness? That is definitely a thing.
I have (and sometimes continue) to hugely over compensate as I have always felt I had something to prove, ‘yes I might be at uni in my first year at 22 but look at all this stuff I do all the time’ like getting to uni after leaving home at 16 and ‘fending for myself’ wasn’t a great achievement anyway?? I guess sometimes I struggle between wanting to capture everything life has to offer, without making it all worth nothing because I am too tired to do anything else.
‘Travel now while you can’
‘Theres so much of the world to see’
‘You can achieve so much, dont let time run out’
Ok but can you go away and leave me alone please and get your tv commercial out of my head so I can sleep.
I also have to recognise that dips in my self-esteem and having depression can push me to feel that I need to do more than I am already doing because otherwise obviously I am not good or likeable or kind or nice or worthy and of course, I surely can’t just be me because thats rubbish? (Lies, I’m fabulous, you are also fabulous).
Sometimes we can feel that there are 100 things we should have ticked of by a particular age / time and whilst we KNOW it’s silly to feel like that, that doesnt make you stop feeling it. This Saturday I stayed in bed until 4pm and ate cereal out of the box because I didn’t feel like getting up and when someone today said ‘wow its September’ I was so mad at myself for not doing anything with that day,even though yesterday I ran 7 miles, cleaned my flat, did my washing, worked an 8 hour shift and lunch prepped for the week but ohhh no, stay in bed on the saturday and let my sandtimer tick away? Stupid.
…but do you know what? I. NEEDED. IT. I didn’t want to go for a run or speak to other humans and enjoy the sun, I wanted to feel sad and lay down watch 8 episodes of Humans (50 mins per episode) then I ordered a great big vegan cheese pizza and laid some more. Eventually I got up and went to work but I could have quite happily stayed there unshowered watching rubbish. I can feel pretty guilty because I think back to when my depression was unbearable and so many hours were spent in nothingness, I have to remind myself that I should never feel guilty for something like that and neither should anybody else.
Ok so, basically the point of this post is that, your life is your life and there is no imaginary time scale ticking by next to it. I dont doubt you have already accomplished a million things you never thought you could..even being alive? (That’s one for me). Yes ‘life is short’ but are you doing all those things because you want to or because society has made you believe you have to? Your time is YOUR time. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel that you’re ‘unsuccessful’ (this is subjective btw) unworthy or unable to achieve what you want to do, at your own pace’.
- There is no competition and there is no right or wrong time for ANYTHING
- Listen to what your body feels and wants, just always be aware you are listening to both sides (the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’)
- Tell yourself atleast one thing a day that you are proud of – it can be as small as today, I didnt snooze my alarm 7 times, only 2.
Photo cred: Beth Draws