Making the change, Love, Loss, and The Stress and Procrastination Loop.
2018 has been a bit of a rollercoaster to say the least. I guess it started like any other year… Hangover ridden, and already breaching the majority of New Year’s resolutions. Always with the attitude that today doesn’t matter because there is tomorrow… trying so very hard to ignore the fact that I promised yourself to be better in the new year. And here we are already making excuses.
And I guess that’s what has changed in the last year… Not that I am doing perfectly and have turned my life around, but I realised I want to make a change. And that I didn’t need a new year, a new week, a new day to pass to ‘reset the clock’. I realised that I could make that change at any moment on any day, at any time.
The one thing I can say I learned from the past year is that every day counts. Every time I fail to stick to those resolutions, put off going to the gym, put off that ever-increasing pile of uni work and reading… it does count. It all counts. And instead of telling myself that it’s ok because I have tomorrow… I know it isn’t, we all know it isn’t. There is no excuse. And if I want to make the most of this precious life, I have to change and strive to be better.
So although it does feel good going into the new year, putting the past behind me and being optimistic that 2019 will be ‘my year’. I know that if I want to change, the time to change is now.
When the clock strikes midnight this year, I still felt exactly the same, I still remembered the losses, heartbreak, and missed opportunities of 2018. And the truth is… I don’t regret anything from the past year because it has brought me to this point in my life.
The past doesn’t disappear, it makes you who you are… and we all have greatness somewhere inside us.
Key Point: Yesterday’s tomorrow is Today’s! It’s time to make a change! Start right now!
Love and Loss
Love is a funny thing. It is nonsensical by nature. It’s a feeling, a connection, a bond greater than ourselves. It’s been something that perhaps I have given too easily in the past, and I have suffered many many times because of it. And my god it’s exhausting!
This year I ‘lost love’, in two big ways. One was a breakup, and one was the passing of a dog I have grown up with from childhood. And of course, they are very different situations, but when it happens you still experience a period of bereavement.
The word bereavement comes from an ancient Germanic word to rob or to steal with violence. And… correct me if I’m wrong, to me, that is exactly the feeling experienced when you lose something or someone you love. That gut-wrenching feeling, with a loss of power that regardless of what you do, nothing can reverse time and make everything better again. It feels like a violent snatch from the heart that takes a lot of time to heal. And when it heals, there’s always a scar where you were once broken.
Buddy, my childhood dog lived to the grand age of 10, which is relatively good for the biggest, soppiest, Rottweiler anyone could ever know. He was a character. To anyone that didn’t know him, he was the scariest dog in Worthing. To those that did, he was the most loving and trusting dog in the world. He would lean on you almost to the point he would knock you over, and then proceed to come and slobber all over your face. My only regret was not loving him more, because god he deserved it!
And then my second big loss of the year, the breakup. It was one of those situations where nothing was wrong, but things were just not right and came to a painful end very suddenly. And I feel like I gave so much love and received so much and I don’t regret it at all. But again, that doesn’t make anything any easier.
As hard as both of these situations were, I learned a lot about myself during those times of bereavement. Nothing but time will repair that gut-wrenching feeling after a loss of any kind. It might take a day to go, it might take years… but it will subside. Something that someone very wise told me once- it might be hard at the time, it might be so hard you can’t talk about it… but with time you can turn that dark painful horrible place, into one of happiness.
Key Point: It’s inevitable that all of us will experience loss. It comes at different times, in many shapes and forms. Give it time and it will subside. The only thing that to regret is not loving enough.
The Stress and Procrastination Loop
Since embarking on the most bazar 3-year adventure, moving to London to study law, the one problem I have encountered is what I like to call the stress and procrastination loop.
As a law student should, I have always had a lot of work and reading to do. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of other extras you need to do to be successful in the legal sector; the TC applications, Vac Scheme Applications, Work Experience, Mooting, Pro Bono, Employer Talks, and anything else to show you are different from the thousands of other law students that graduate each year. Sustaining all of this alongside the ‘social life’ and a part time job is nearly impossible.
Naturally, you have to prioritise the more important areas. There are times where I think ‘it’s all important’ and I sustain everything for a period of a couple of weeks, maybe longer, and then I get burnt out… which just makes everything worse. And then I would go through another period where this ‘stress and procrastination loop’ sets in. I would get stressed with the amount of work and other commitments I had to do, so I would sacrifice everything else in my life which isn’t essential, even though they were more essential than I realised… and I did have the time, I was just procrastinating about it. Basic things like looking after myself, making sure I eat properly, working out, making sure I have time to do things I enjoy and maintaining my sanity.
As I continued to repeat this unhealthy loop again and again, it became clear I needed to have a clear out of the non-essential things. So, I quit my job to further focus on my studies going into the final year of my degree, disregarding how tough it would be to finance this last year. But as another wise person told me: “if you don’t go through some period of financial hardship at some point in your life, you haven’t lived”.
Now while I am by no means ‘fixed’ or out of the loop, I have found that making this one change has helped relieve the pressure and allowed me to act with a clearer mind. Consequently, decisions I make consider what is important for me to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and what I should be sacrificing.
It’s a work in progress, but time management is key to break this inefficient and painstaking excuse ridden loop of procrastination and then the stress and self-loathing that follows.
Key point: Cut the things out of your life that aren’t helping you grow, aren’t necessary and are causing you to procrastinate about bad habits. Making one change could transform your life more than you think.
So here we are, the end of my very first blog post on our new diverse and broad blog! It took a little while to get the motivation(ironically) to write it, but we got there.
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Author: Woodrow Cox
Editor: Jamie De Vivo
Also published on Medium.