Friday, 22 February 2019

THE WORLD STILL SPINS WITHOUT ME? WHAT!


Up at 6am to get to work for 8am, finish work at 2pm, head to a seminar for 2:30pm, finish at 4pm. Break for twenty minutes before heading to a tutor meeting, TEDx meeting, and go to rehearsal. Finish at 9pm, walk a mile to the bus stop, get home, eat, sleep, repeat.

One of the questions I hear most at the moment is how do you have time to do everything?
And to be honest with you, I don’t. I only just about have time to eat in the day at the moment. Now I am not here to brag or boast about my ‘busy’ life, I’m simply putting my hands up and saying I’ve taken on too many things this year. I am a finalist who is somewhat compromising their degree for the sake of being a part of other projects and boosting my CV to try to stand out amongst the other arts and humanities students who are easily as talented and interesting as I am.


I live my life two weeks in advance because I have to. I probably read my diary more than I read books for my course, just in case I have forgotten something… an appointment, a date, a shift, a class.
So, when I was bed-bound for an entire week with a viral chest infection and tonsillitis, not only did I feel like I was utterly useless, I also felt like I was letting people down. A lot of people; I had to call in sick for my shift which left the staff without a supervisor all day; I missed multiple rehearsals where I was needed for choreography; I couldn’t make a single seminar over the week; I wasn’t present for meetings I have for a project I am involved with next term; as well as missing the meetings for TEDxWarwick. And I felt awful.

As I drifted in and out of sleep, I thought about every single person I had let down. Naturally, I was furious that I couldn’t do anything that I was needed to do, and lazing around or staying in bed for days is something I do not enjoy. But, as I crossed out each event I could not attend in my diary, I had a weird - albeit obvious - realisation that the days were still passing by without me. Yes, I wasn’t there, yes I got a lot of messages from people saying “are you sure you can’t just make it for a bit?” or “you will be missed!” but ultimately, everything that was planned still happened. Without me.

I needed that. Towards the middle of the week, I felt some catharsis in messaging people saying “I am really sorry but I cannot be there.” Despite feeling like I had as much energy as a congested sloth, I also felt a great load of relief.

I had attached so much of my self-worth to my ‘busy’ lifestyle that I had forgotten that, actually, I am more important than that meeting I couldn’t go to, and my health (mental and physical) should be prioritised over a shift I cannot make. My housemates realised this before I did and told me that they would not let me go to any of my appointments even if I wanted to. I also received some messages from friends that knew I was sick saying, “Georgie, I will be really angry at you if you turn up to X today”.

This is not something that applies only if you have tonsillitis, as G did. When we were discussing this, I realised how applicable it was to me, too. Attendance is super important to me, and it means that I hyper-value meetings and work and seminars to the point where I don’t even consider it an option not to go. We aren’t free. We are mentally trapped in our lives. Of course, you shouldn’t let people down without good reason, but if like George and I are you are constantly on the go, sometimes, it’s good to remember that no-one can force you to do anything, it comes from you.

As cliché as it is, the world still spun without me. Maybe a little bit less smoothly for the people I let down, but the principle remains.

Haze and I have committed to a lot of things this year, we know we have, and we have chosen to do so because we enjoy being productive. But it does mean that, however indirectly, more people rely on us on a day-day basis than we realise. And that does not make our lifestyles superior to anybody else’s. It simply means that we need to be even more firm on our boundaries than other people – and look after ourselves even better than we would if we did not have commitments. Because, what I’m really saying, is if no.1 goes down, you are also bringing everyone else down with you ;)!

So, to answer your question properly, I have time to do everything because I plan ahead and sacrifice my social life, a lot... but it’s important to remember (if you’re someone like me) that with every commitment you take on, you have to be honest with how much of your time you can give. Really, it’s selfish to put yourself out for other people and give them a fraction of your concentration or waste their time. It’s kinder to look after yourself, and know when to say no.

Love, George and Haze xxxx

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