Establishing routine? New Year Resolutions and a look ahead to 2015

Over the years, and particularly since I began blogging, my biggest difficulty is finding the balance between giving myself too many goals that I never accomplish and motivating myself enough to make the changes in my life I want to see happening. Every so often I, in earnest, swear that I’m going to do better and actually become a regular blogger and get my life into gear, but I just as often come back along to say “whoops, that didn’t go as planned!” My expectations for myself and my routine come from so many sectors that I feel a bit dogpiled on trying to set myself goals for every aspect of my life, and it seems that my way of coping with that huge looming to-do list is simply to avoid it entirely!

Therefore, I always wonder whether it’s simply a waste of time giving myself New Year Resolutions. The new year does always give me a sense of renewal and hope that I will finally get my ass into gear, but these days, it’s more in theory than in practise. Sticking to a self-imposed deadline is difficult for me when there’s no one else to disappoint. When I was at university, I was one of those people who perhaps overdid it in terms of setting targets and, gasp, actually fulfilling them. Nowadays, I find it hard sometimes to even do one thing I promised myself I would.

Is it all in vain, then, to yet again promise, whether to myself or on this blog, that I will at least attempt to change the way I’m living my life this year? I know I’ve been unhappy in my gut somewhere, feeling unaccomplished and lacking something, since I left university and spend a lot of my time in a retail job, and I know two and a half years slacking off has been difficult to put aside and finally overhaul. The pressure I put on myself seems somehow to feel simultaneously too harsh and too loose; as I said above, I attempt too much at once just to hide away from it all, but I also give up too easily. I’ve become lazy, physically and mentally, since then. So do I cut myself some slack and say “right, this doesn’t have to be THE moment you change your life”, or “right, girl, kick yourself in the butt and get going if you don’t want to continue in this sort of suspended reclining lifestyle”?

I’m not going to tell myself that 2015 is the year I’m going to finally get violin lessons and find a better-paying job and become a popular blogger. Instead, I’m aiming to get thinking about what I want for this blog, what areas of life I want to discuss; I’m going to finally repierce my ear and wear earrings again; I’m going to be brave and cut my hair; I’m going to work on my French, German, Ancient Greek and Latin and impose some sort of loose regularity with them; I’m going to keep reading as many books as I managed last year; I’m going to work on writing more. I’m going to keep a remembrance jar to document all those lovely memories throughout the year.

2014 was a year that in some ways I can only describe as ‘meh’, but looking back, it did bring me a lot of happiness. At work I recently moved to a new department, and it brought a new lease of life to my happiness there. I’ve made a lot of strides in my views of social justice, and have made acquaintance with a lot of amazing people on Twitter. I feel stronger in a lot of senses; more insecurities are shrinking, and I become more and more unapologetic about how I comport myself both in terms of how I view myself and how I fight for others’ rights. My tolerances are shifting to the right places, and I am wasting less time being bothered about the wrong things. As I near my mid-twenties, I realize I am still growing so much as a person, and I have high hopes for the future in terms of my self-image and self-confidence.

Turning 24 has felt strange. I feel like it’s a factor in how I’m viewing this year’s resolutions. I think now that I’m getting closer to my thirties I’m changing how I approach my life and organizing my life, because I have to if I want to be in a better place. I’m not telling myself I’m going to get exactly where I want to be soon, if I even get there at all, but I think how I’ve been trying to deal with my life post-graduation just hasn’t been working so I’m having to tweak it a bit not only in how I actually implement changes, but also in how I even view change.

I can sense I’m rambling now (a habit I want to rein in for blogging purposes!) so I wish anyone reading this a happy new year. I hope 2015 brings you all what you’re looking for.

Until next time,
Sascha

When Escaping the Post-Graduation Funk Seems Nigh Impossible!

Big announcement: I am a liar, guys. A freaking liar. This post might as well be renamed “how to be a coward and flail desperately about your five million future plans that you’ve done absolutely nothing towards accomplishing”. Basically, I have not applied for the courses I promised I would, I didn’t start the Couch to 5k challenge that I promised I would in order to run on behalf of Lupus UK, and I haven’t updated my blogs or YouTube forever. Okay, so the YouTube thing is because I’ve somehow, stupidly, managed to misplace the camera I usually film on, but, and I’m sure everyone’s heard it before, I procrastinated like Hell with everything else.

I guess this could be a lesson on how the real world is difficult. How sometimes plans don’t always fall into place after graduation, how sometimes aspirations are held back for financial reasons (or others). How you can be ready to embark on a new era in your life, but something stops you taking the final plunge. Or perhaps I’m trying to make my cowardice sound profound! But I do think that choosing a career and/or being an adult is pretty difficult; the transition is not always smooth. The Real World is terrifying.

So, does this mean I have yet been unsuccessful in escaping the post-graduate funk? For now, yes; while I am enjoying working where I’m currently for the moment, it is, undoubtedly, unfulfilling in terms of a life goal and ‘career’, and it’s definitely not something I’d like to prolong for too long. By the end of April it will have been a year, and, while I don’t want to say “well, I’ll decide then” in fear I’m simply trying to put it off, I guess then will be the real impetus for trying to sort out my next step. I have to admit to myself that my dreams aren’t going to leap out at me right now, but also that I have to keep progressing on them behind the scenes of what else is going on.

My new agendum should really be “don’t make any promises, either to yourself or to your small blogging audience”, shouldn’t it?

Escaping the Post-Graduation Funk: part 3.

Today’s topic could easily be my usual complaint: my lack of motivation in updating this blog! But instead I’m going to discuss that in terms of something else: cleaning. More specifically, cleaning my room. This is a combination of acquiring too many things whilst living away from home and not culling them upon returning, and that pesky emptiness that should be motivation and productivity. To be completely honest, I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder and someone who tends towards chaos rather than tidiness, but really, my current situation more than takes the cake.

My room, to hold nothing back, looks like the aftermath of a frat party. Too much dirty laundry, too many rubbish bags, and, it pains me to admit, right now there’s barely a piece of carpet visible. Stuff is piled high, and it seems only to be escalating rather than disappearing. It’s not as if there are tons of stuff that I can immediately pinpoint as “those things are hoarded, useless pieces of junk” necessarily, but things have gotten way out of hand.

Every week almost it seems that I attempt to clear a lot of the rubbish and then move on to culling stuff. I’ve made some headway into the culling, it’s true, but these days the mess is so big that I barely get to clearing it before my motivation just goes flat and I give up. Usually I could rely on my mum popping in and giving me a hand – that usually encourages me like nothing else – but nowadays things are too mad for her to want to even stick her head in the door. I know it’s a matter of telling myself “you need to do this; you can’t live like a pig forever”, but for whatever reason, I just can’t seem to put the theory into practice and sort it all out.

The culling will be ruthless this time, I know that; it has to be. No clinging onto all my favorite books that I could easily borrow from a library or store onto my Kindle. No clinging onto DVDs that I’m pretty sure I’ll never watch again. Same for jewellery, clothes (especially clothes, oh my gosh), and anything else that I simply have too much of. I’m sure that if I were living in my own place, I’d have no problem finding a place for everything I currently own, but realistically that isn’t going to happen any time soon, so I have to be pragmatic now. But again, how to even get started doing this?

I’d be culling all the time if I had a tidy space in which to get started. I’d have a tidy space if I would just get stuck in and de-fratparty the place. Yet I don’t. I use excuses – “oh, but it’s my only day off and I want to relax”, “oh, I’ve been working all day and I’m exhausted” – but how can I move past this if I don’t take the time to do it? Gone are the days when I could come home from school to find my room had been completely tidied and sometimes even rearranged completely by my mum who wanted a cool project for the day. I can’t keep relying on wishing that I could magic the room clean like Dumbledore and Slughorn do in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I need to act like an adult and create a clean, tidy space that I want to be in, that I want to work in. That’s the ultimate goal: to free up a desk space at which to be productive, and to have a tidy background for filming.

The thing is, I know in my head it’s a case of “get up early, and take the whole day to work on it”, so how can I push myself to do it? The most frustrating aspect of it is that my brother quite often has those days where he’ll wake up like “let’s do this” but since he suffers from lupus, his body is more often than not simply not up to what his mind wants to do. If we could combine my fitness and his motivation, we’d be there. I guess the answer is to have him bark at me not to stop until the place is gleaming, eh?

Is anyone else going through this at the moment? The mess has never been so bad, and yet it must have the potential to become even more chaotic, since at so many stages it’s been a case of “it can’t get any worse”, and it has done. Any tips for overcoming the vicious circle of mess? Put the internet away, no distractions, be a big girl and get it done, right? Easier said than done at the moment, but I’m hoping that the cliché of “new year, new start” will push me to fix my life. Otherwise I’ll drown in squalor and not live how I want to. HELP.

Escaping the Post-Graduation Funk: part 2.

Okay, so I have completely failed to update this blog as a whole, and especially this series that I was so set on doing, for quite a while! Yeah, I know; let’s all pretend we’re surprised. Here’s what’s going on in terms of my “being an adult and moving up in the world” strategy:

The most accessible plan, and the one I’m going for, is that I’m going to apply for some postgraduate courses at a smaller university that’s closer to home, so they won’t be classics courses, but it’s a chance for me to branch out a bit. One is the MLitt in English Language and Linguistics, which subject I briefly mentioned in my last post; I’ve been in touch with the admissions because I wasn’t sure whether I’d be completely out of my depth jumping right in, but I’ve been encouraged by them to apply! I’m not 100% sure what I will want to progress onto with that, whether stick in the field or branch out again, but this is getting to be my hallmark – taking another turn on the humanities path and see where it will get me! Not the most useful, but I’m a great believer in doing what I want to do providing it doesn’t leave me too high and dry.

The other course I know I’m applying to is Gender Studies. There’s a choice between the MLitt and the MSc, but I’d be taking the MLitt route. It’s an applied course, which means I’d do a research placement module and it makes that professional world a lot more accessible. As an enthusiastic feminist, but as of yet having not made any real mark in that world as a whole, the thought of doing the course really excites me as it will consolidate my thoughts and thinking on various topics and present many opportunities for a job in that sort of thing.

So, those are the two I’ll definitely apply to and see what happens. I’m thinking about applying to one or two more, like the Gothic Imagination one – a classics degree definitely puts you on the right track for writing English essays! I plan to commute through if I get a place, and continue working at Debenhams for the time being, or if another job opportunity comes up that is flexible and right for me, I would consider jumping ship. Depending on how busy I get/how much I can afford to do it, I might consider cutting my hours a bit, but I’ll push myself through as much as I can so that I can keep earning as much as I do while also making progress on the ‘career’ path.

The other ideas I brainstormed in my last post, like the YouTubing and novelwriting, are of course still milling about in the back, and I continue to keep those up (the YouTubing isn’t exactly happening right now, actually, but it will!) in the hope that one day they might provide opportunities too.

The next post in this series – I feel like if I pick a topic and mention it here, it will mean I have to make the commitment! – will be about having to move back home and trying to stay organized in that respect. Maybe that one will be a bit more useful for everyone! But as ever, thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed this. And, as ever, I apologize for the huge time lapses between posts!

Until next time,
Sascha x

Four and a half months later.

I’ve been out of action for quite some time now, on all of my creative outlets, really; both my blogs, both my YouTube channels, and my novels are going at a snail’s pace. I’ve been active on Tumblr, plus the usual Facebook and Twitter, but that’s it as far as things go, so life’s been pretty dead around here. I’ve been busy with my newish job, but I’ve still frittered away lots of my free time, although in the past week or so, I’ve been feeling creativity slowly flowing back to me, so it’s only a matter of time before I’m back filming for YouTube too. 🙂

One of the first things I want to mention is that while I’ve been AWOL, I’ve become quite active in feminism groups – I’ve always felt feminist, but up until a few months ago I thought of the label as a sort of dirty word, a stigmatized word that I didn’t want to be a part of. Now I proudly embrace the label, and feel I must heavily apologize for what was my last post on this blog – The Burden of YouTube Popularity. I failed to recognize that the YouTubers I mentioned are victims of the patriarchy too, and that they are just as influenced by that and the media as we all are. It was unfair of me to put them on pedestals and forget that they are human beings like the rest of us. I rescind most of what I wrote on that subject, though I will keep the post up, especially as there was a comment left on it that I think people would appreciate if they read the post with their nostrils flaming.

I’ve made a lot of lovely friends through my feminist presence online, and as much as having my eyes opened to a worse world than I realized, I’ve enjoyed the journey. I still have so much to learn, but I am willing to learn, and I am never going to stop fighting for every single one of us, that we may be free of the shackles of patriarchy.

As I mentioned, I’ve been working a lot, but since it’s in retail, it’s been pretty soul-destroying. No, I do enjoy my job a lot, but in terms of productivity and creativity, it really doesn’t offer much. I have agreed with myself, and my brother since he’s doing the same thing, that by the end of the calendar year, we shall have a game plan – whatever it is. I know my working there is temporary, and I need to push myself so as not to end up settling for less. My 23rd birthday is at the very end of the year – the 31st, in fact, so quite literally so – so I feel it’s good timing. My brother as part of his therapy is setting aside certain time each week for making progress on a sort of ‘life to-do list’, and he’s involved me in that, at his psychologist’s suggestion, so options will be carved out quite soon. I know that without my own input, life cannot change, and go all the awesome new ways I’ve always hoped it would, so I’m making a massive effort from now on to get myself where I want to be.

Certain things I’ve massively procrastinated with – even getting my room redone. I’m needing to drastically reduce my belongings, and get my walls painted, and make my room a wonderfully creative space in which to work. I need to get back up and running with both my YouTube channels, since I’ve had lots of plans for them for a long time now. I need to restart the Cover Version Tuesday contest that I was posting each week on this blog. I need to move a lot faster with my novelwriting, and write more poetry.

I can’t keep calling this a post-graduation funk, nor can I let another funk keep me away from all the things I love for so long again. Here’s to hoping I get back on the wagon for good 🙂