Why are you running?

When I watched the Nollywood film titled Pretty Liars (no relation to Pretty Little Liars), I had no way of knowing that that one scene (you know the one I’m talking about) would go on to become an iconic meme. Today when I sat to write this post, that is the first thing that came to my mind. Why are you running?

See I have been running for a long time now. Running even though no one was chasing. I have always been in a hurry to get through the stages of life. It may have started when I skipped grade 6 and went straight to secondary school at nine years old. I turned 16 in my first term at University, completed all my credits at 19, and by 22 I had my Master’s degree and was starting my career. At university I took summer classes every year to speed things up so I could graduate in three years instead of four. When it was all over, I sat with myself and asked the question “Now what? What’s next? Why were you in a hurry?

The sad truth is that I should have enjoyed the journey more, rather than rushing to the destination. It would have been nice to have taken the time to smell the petunias. At the end of it all I am grateful for everything, and I’m not going to dwell mindlessly on the past; still it is good (important even!) to reflect. Did it matter if I graduated at 19 instead of 21? By the grace of God, we all reached the destination, and it did not matter how long it took. I was so engrossed in just getting it all over with, that I never even stopped to consider what the point was, and what the plan was after everything was ticked off.

For so long it was just “on to the next”. I was ticking things off robotically like I was collecting infinity stones (I only know this reference thanks to social media. I have not watched the film), and when it was done I felt so terribly lost and confused. What now? I had not thought beyond the destination, forgetting that life is not one destination but one long never ending journey with some pitstops. After my final summer semester in which I got the final credits for my bachelor’s degree in summer school, I remember sitting in my room in University, completely overwhelmed by the rest of my life staring down at me. I had reached the end of the race in record time and there was still the rest of my life to deal with. For years I had known what the next step was-midterms, exams, summer school etc. That was the first time that all certainty was gone- there was nothing set for me to do next, the decision was all mine and I was petrified. I was technically an adult now and had to decide what to do next, yet I still felt like a child. After graduation I just laid around and waited for someone to tell me what to do next. That was one of the more depressing periods of my life. I remember one day my mother scolded me for loafing around saying “do you know you are a graduate now?But I’m still a child, I thought. How am I supposed to make all these decisions? In a way I am still that child, and I struggle sometimes with making serious life decisions because I’m just a baby haha.

For a long time now I have been in a rut. Well actually maybe for the past 2.5 years because before then I had professional exams that I was working towards (again rush rush get it all done in one go no resits hello anxiety). These exams were not fun by any means but the stress, anxiety, adrenaline provided something other than inertia. After those were done and dusted, life returned to this long monotonous bore as there was nothing I was working towards or looking forward to. It’s weird that in writing this, I have managed to partially diagnose myself; I need something to work towards and for the past couple of years I have not had that, hence the funk.

I have started implementing changes in my life, and the main one is that I have found a new job. For some people this is not a big deal, but for me it is the biggest of deals. I just could not deal with the monotony anymore and I wanted something fresh. Now I realise that even the new job by itself may not provide me with a completely new fresh lease on life. There are two reasons for this; the first is the feeling that while this is a change, it is still not my purpose. I may never truly feel light and happy with work until I am doing something that feeds my spirit. The second, which I literally just realised while writing this post, is that unless I am working towards something, life is dull and monotonous. So this new job is not going to automatically lift my spirits, because if care is not taken I risk falling into the same rut. Still it is a much needed change. I just have to be intentional about this.

Taking this leap feels scary, but also empowering and liberating. If this job does not work out, I will get another one. Now that I know better, I will try to be more mindful of my life. There is a thin line between doing too much and not doing enough. I want to get a promotion within a year of my new job, but I also want to chill and take everything in stride. The next big girl decision is to get a new place to stay, but with rising costs of everything the situation is dire, and it may be better to just stay put. Still I feel better than I have felt in a while, and for now that is enough.

Why are you running? Take the time to enjoy the journey, admire the scenery, smell the roses. You will get there in the end, there’s no need to rush.

Now the week is over.

The first week of the year has come to an end and we have embarked on week 2. Unlike most people who start out strong with their resolutions only to falter down the road, I did it the smart way by faltering at the very beginning. I spent the first couple of days thinking okay do I start drinking water now? When exactly should I begin my squats?  I was in a limbo at the beginning of the year as I had exams and did not quite feel like I was writing with a fresh slate.

Now I feel strangely happy, optimistic and relieved. I cannot pinpoint the source of these feelings but it may have to do with the fact that I don’t have exams for a while, and I have nothing outstanding from twenty seventeen. I did not knock my resolutions out of the park, some of them I haven’t even started but it’s all uphill from here. I got a little excited and downloaded three goal tracker apps. It is nice to document my goals but to be honest I haven’t made much use of the app.

Let’s see how I did on my resolutions:

  1. Drink at least three bottles of water a day: I did really well on day 3, okay on day 4 and then just reverted to my parched ways.
  2. Exercise (squats, abs, yoga)– Nothing.
  3. Do something interesting on weekends and hang out with other people-Knocked this out of the park. I had lunch with friends three days of the week and had dinner and the theatre on Saturday. Perhaps all this social interaction is why I feel so happy. I hope to keep this up and I am already thinking of ideas for next week.
  4. Travel the world-Hey it’s only week one!
  5. Improve my French-I spent 30 minutes learning French this week which is not as good as I want.
  6. Eat more vegetables-Done! Had spinach and peppers with my dinners this week and it was good.
  7. Learn to knit-Nothing.
  8. Learn to use chopsticks-Nothing.
  9. Take care of my hair-Well I have made a bit of effort. I still need to find a good routine that works for me.
  10. Try something for the first time-I ate food from two new places this week. I also went to the ballet for the first time.
  11. Write two blogposts per month. Here’s one.

And so on and so forth.

All in all it’s been a good year so far. I am beginning to realise that the key to maintaining my happiness and sanity is to ensure a good balance between spending time in my room by myself and hanging out with people out of my room. As introverted as I am, it still feels good to go out and have good conversation over good food.

Cheers to the new week. I hope it’s good and I hope to achieve more of my goals.

New Year New Me?

In a few hours we will usher in a new year and in a twinkling the year will be over and it will be another new year.

A lot has happened this year-I started a new job, began my professional exams, started swimming classes, took pole dancing lessons for a month, read a lot of books, went on a short trip with a friend, and that’s it. So not much has happened. My resolution for the new year is to change that.

I have said time and time again; I am not one for resolutions, mainly because I know they will not be achieved as I am too lazy and unmotivated to do anything about them. But most importantly I have lived most of my life unintentionally-just taking one day at a time and pretty much letting the “universe” decide my fate. This has worked in some regards, but has also left me lonely.

I am burrowing deeper into old age and can no longer leave my life to fate. So for the first time I have resolutions that I actually want to be committed to. Most of the resolutions are things I have wanted to do for yeaaaarrrrssssss; they have been on every “things to do before…” list I made and even the bucket list I made earlier this year. So what is different now? I am tired of feeling unfulfilled with my life and with time hurtling by I really need to make a change.  This time, rather than just mindlessly recreating the same list over again, I have put in more thought and have even started on some of them.

  1. Develop new and hopefully lasting relationships-romantic and otherwise. This is the most important thing on the list. I can no longer deal with having no one to hang out with when I want and i really cannot fathom being alone on my birthday-I would much rather spend the day with my face in my pillow than to go out alone. I just want to build my tribe; to find likeminded people that I can bare my soul to, have a good laugh and just be myself with. I pledge to spend at least two weekends every month out with other humans.
  2. For the love of God, improve my French. In my mind I am fluent in French. I keep trotting out French phrases at will and people assume that I speak the language fluently. I would like to get to conversational level by the end of the year, and maybe even get someone to practice with. I pledge to practice French twice a week.
  3. Put in some effort with my hair. Sweet baby Jesus take control of this one. I have been dealing with hair for seven years now and this year is the year I really began to hate it. I am sick and tired of it but seeing as these are the cards I have been dealt I have no choice but to do something about it.  I pledge to oil my hair daily and always keep it stretched out. I would like to see a difference by my birthday next year.
  4. Perfect my swimming. I already take swimming classes once a week so I pledge to continue with the lessons until I am an expert and can do underwater shoots.
  5. Learn to use chopsticks. I already bought my chopsticks for this. I tried once and gave up 6.32 seconds later. I pledge to practice at dinner time when appropriate.
  6. Learn to knit. I started knitting one weekend a few months back. I actually got into it until I made a mistake and couldn’t bring myself to unravel all my work so I abandoned it instead. I pledge to practice this once a week. I came across a knitting class where for a nominal fee anyone who likes to knit can come with their materials and knit in a room with fellow knitfolk. Who knows I might just join in one of these days. I might make some grandma friends.
  7. Travel more. I pledge to travel to at least two new countries. I would also like to do some domestic travel and explore more cities.
  8. Do Yoga. This is another one that has been on my list for nearly a decade now. My problem is I only focused on doing yoga at a gym which never happened due to one reason or the other. This year, I pledge to practice yoga three times a week in my room.  I downloaded an app but I am not sure how useful this will be so I might just look up videos on youtube.
  9. Do squats and abs exercises as often as possible. As with yoga, i will do this is my room and I pledge to do so twice a week for now.
  10. Eat more vegetables and expand my culinary repertoire. I could stand to eat healthier and in the new year and beyond I would like to improve my diet in hopes that this will be reflected in my skin, hair, body and mind.
  11. Drink at least three bottles of water every day. One before lunch. One at lunch. One at dinner.
  12. Write more. I pledge two blog posts per month. I would also like to finish a short story in 2018.
  13. Try something for the first time as often as possible.

My ultimate goal is to be happy; that’s all I really want. I want to love my hair, my skin, my body and mind. I want to have friends, to go out more, create more memories and experiences, fall in love, to laugh often. I have written this a thousand times, I hope 2018 is the year these finally come into fruition.

May 2018 bring me my heart desires, may it nourish my soul and kindle the flames within.

Happy new year! 🙂

IN THE NEW YEAR I WANT TO…

 

Be more adventurous. Explore my surroundings more. Explore the city. Leave my room every day. Go somewhere every weekend. Strike up conversations. Keep in touch with people. Take care of my hair more. Learn to swim. Become an adult. Fall in love. Laugh a lot. Finish one of the many stories I have started. Get a job. Start a business. Learn to code. Perfect my languages. Learn a new one. Take more pictures. Make more memories. Stay alive. Be happy.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! HERE’S TO A FABULOUS 2016.