Tag Archives: travelling

Looming/Loving Deadlines

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Good morning, dear reader!  If you are struggling with the whole “oh God where did that entire weekend just go?” feeling, remember that you are at the start of a mere four-day week.  You can absolutely handle that.  I have utter faith in you.

Like most people, I have a very love-hate relationship with deadlines.  On the one hand, it’s nice to be given a sense of structure that will lead me to plan my time effectively, and discipline myself accordingly to ensure that my work is finished in time.  On the other hand, deadlines also bring out the adolescent, “you can’t tell me what to do!  I hate you!!”, stomping-off-to-my-room-and-slamming-the-door side of me.  We may not like to admit it, but I think that that’s the case for a lot of us.

When we are teeny tiny, the deadlines are our parents’ to worry about: “shouldn’t he be walking by now?”  “Was your daughter talking at this age?”  “How long has he been stuck in that dustbin?”  And so on.  As we get older we take some responsibility for ourselves, most notably for the interminable GCSE coursework deadlines.  (I’ve just remembered: I never handed in my Physics coursework.  I just didn’t do it, on the grounds that I freaking hated Physics.  How did that work?  Why do I have a GCSE in a subject I didn’t do the coursework for?  Worrying.)

By the time we reach the grown-up world of work, university and real life, we have supposedly learned to work to any deadline that gets thrown at us.  Having said that, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of uni students everywhere to say that module conveners really, really need to communicate better: having all of our essay deadlines within two days of each other is just not cool (although the managing directors of Red Bull and Nescafe must be very pleased with this state of affairs).

By now we have also reached the stage where we give ourselves deadlines in our personal lives: I want to be married by this age, I want to have been travelling by this time, and I want to have saved x amount of money before y happens.  This is all very well and good, since it shows that we have learned that structure can be good for us and we have taught ourselves a sense of purpose and direction, but it’s also pretty scary.

Last night my friend Harry and I were having dinner in a Wetherspoons (obviously) and I made a sweeping declaration, ala Marshall Eriksen in How I Met Your Mother.  

Me: I swear by THIS pepper pot…
Harry: Why the pepper pot?
Me: I dunno.  Anyway, I swear by this pepper pot that if x has not happened by the time y occurs, I will no longer do z!
Harry: Good.  Put the pepper pot down.

What Harry knows (and the poor pepper pot probably knows now, too) is that personal deadlines are all very well and good, but that we have to use them to grow and develop, not to limit ourselves.  If we want to go travelling, we need to set ourselves a deadline for the trip that reflects the reality of our financial situation, visas and so on, not a deadline that will make us feel like a failure in twelve months’ time.

If we don’t manage to meet our personal deadlines, it doesn’t make us failures.  It just means giving ourselves a bit more slack next time.  The countries you want to visit and the things you want to save up for will still be there when you’re ready.

Have the kind of Tuesday that is worthy of folklore.

Stuff We Are Apparently Too Young For

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Good morning, dear reader.  Are those shoes new?  They look ace.

First of all, I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has contacted me to tell me how much they enjoy reading this blog.  I am truly touched by the support I’ve received, and I hope that future posts will prove equally entertaining.  One of the posts that I’ve received most praise for is this one about stuff my generation is too old to do, so I’ve decided to try the opposite approach and talk about things that people in their twenties are supposedly too young to do.  (And yes, I know I’ve stolen the idea from an episode of How I Met Your Mother.)  I think that this list might cause a bit more controversy, because I know for a fact that my friends do some or all of these things, but this list is according to society’s expectations of our generation more than our actual preferences.  I personally think that most of these are fine for us to do, but apparently I’m just old before my time.

1) Go to bed before 9pm

As recently as 2011 I regularly stayed up talking nonsense with my friends until the unsociable hours of the morning, but these days I can rarely stay awake past pumpkin-transformation time.  Occasionally a night out will go on too long and I will accidentally see the sun rise, but in general my attitude seems to have done a complete one eighty since childhood.  Fifteen years ago, I would rage against the injustice of being sent to bed before 9pm.  Present day, I grumble morosely if my social life obliges me to be out of the house after 9pm.  I think I’m still tired after fours years of being a Drama student.

2) Wear slippers

Between the Spiderman/Thomas the Tank Engine/Bagpuss footwear phase of early childhood and the fluffy shufflers of old age, there is no socially acceptable footwear for those of us who like to keep our feet toasty while we potter around the house.  But d’you know what?  Socially acceptable be damned: I wear slipper socks most days and very few people have to see them.  I’m wearing my favourite pair right now, in fact.  They’re pink and stripy.  Take that, society.

3) Have a mortgage

According to high-up financial people (i.e. the ones who lost all of our money in the recession), a quarter of people under the age of thirty live with their parents, and practically nobody in that age group can afford a mortgage.  There’s also an argument to stay “free”, i.e. not tie ourselves down to long-term responsibilities, but actually this should come down to the individual’s preferences.  Some people my age are still going travelling, and some are married with children.  I personally am not ready for a mortgage, but I have friends who are and I am proud of them.  Why shouldn’t they invest in their future just because some people their age are backpacking around Thailand?  Why do we all have to be the same?

4) Play Bingo

Apparently this is an old person’s game, but I know a lot of people my age who enjoy it.  Actually, I quite fancy having a go myself.  That might be because I’m secretly hoping that it will be like the scene in The Mighty Boosh when Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding turn up, but I’m sure it’s a fun game on its own.

5) Utter the phrase “Back in my day…”

This also applies to “When I was young…” and “Back in the good old days…”  These days we speak of are not that long ago, but I don’t have to be an old lady to know that my youth was better than the present day: children were better behaved, reality television didn’t exist and social media hadn’t ruined the art of conversation.  Obviously there are things that I quite like about the modern world: the internet is pretty handy, tolerance for different ethnic groups is better and at my age I can eat whatever I want for dinner.  (I eat vegetables Mum, don’t worry.)

I think that most adults are a secret combination of childish wishes and elderly habits; nobody my age is a straightforward grown-up.  There’s nothing to be ashamed of, though: I’m sure that the people who expect us to be taking drugs every night, renting trendy flats and eating instant noodles secretly miss owning Batman slippers.

Have a glorious Wednesday