An exam-hangover is a real thing. I’m calling it, and I’ll probably create a website all about it so other people can diagnose themselves too.
The symptoms? A strong feeling of being overwhelmed by all the possibilities you pushed aside when you were studying. The hours of note re-writing, practice paper-bewilderment and procrastination-eating have to be substituted by something, right? But there were just too many choices that I imploded.
I wanted to knit a blanket and garden and watch 14 episodes of Rake and develop a better fashion taste and book a holiday and unashamedly learn Taylor Swift songs on the ukulele and also exercise everyday and just find some ME TIME and get into politics and sleep in more and go out for coffee with pals and eat a bit better and start a bullet journal (high-key obsessed, check it out) and get back into yoga and read some high-brow literature and and discover some better music and maybe bake this cheesecake I had my eye on and CAN YOU SEE MY PROBLEM YET?
Day one of university freedom: woke up early to do ERRYTHANG (no sleep in), had tim-tams for breaky because it HOLIDAYS (no better eating), chickened out at the price of herbs and wool and holidays (pledged to find less expensive hobbies), forgot to buy brown sugar (no salted caramel cheesecake) and then went home and watched Gossip Girl for 3 hours telling myself I BLOODY WELL COULD but hated myself for doing it. My day was as though I was finally fulfilling that Macca’s craving but walking away with deep, deep regret for embarking on a ten-pack of nuggets journey.
I got a bit of a sniffly flu and told myself my immune system was finally giving itself a little rest after a month of hard-hitting exam adrenaline (hah lol). But really I knew that was a false truth: I was indoors all day, busy doing everything but achieving nothing. I failed to invest in those aloe-vera tissues that are soft on runny noses as a sort of self-punishment. It was a guilt-penalty for being failing to be efficient: for when the day is done and I can’t tangibly list all the things I achieved, I’m inundated with a morbid sense of failure and a fear that if I could waste this day, I could waste my whole freaking life.
Right now I bet you’re thinking Jeez Louise this little lady takes herself a bit too seriously, doesn’t she, but I suppose you’re still also a little bit nauseous about the whole nugget thing and the feeling of that time when you overate at Macca’s is coming back and sitting at the back of your oesophagus. Just swallow it down, mate, you’ll be right. But the important thing to take away from this, is that an expectation to live every single waking moment as though it’s a Hollywood film with witty one-liners and quirky music and pavement that lights up where your feet walk is an enormous pressure to place on yourself. It’s like motivation but on vaguely legal self-enhancement drugs, and what this enormous pressure does, my friends, is make you pretty scared.
It made me scared to write things, which is something that I rather like doing. It made me scared to leave the house without makeup on, which was something I never fretted about before. It made me scared to book a holiday for which I’ve been saving my little pennies away for months, because I feared it wouldn’t be as grand or Instagrammable as everyone else in Europe. It made me scared to read (gasp) in case I wouldn’t become addicted to the book like I so dearly wanted to be. In an ironic twist, my inherent fear of being “lazy” actually created my laziness.
It took me a couple of weeks to crawl out from the slump, but hey ho I’m still not all the way out of the guilt-hole. I still feel a bit shit about myself if I choose to spend the night watching fail-videos instead of writing in my journal, or if I come home to an empty house and nap for two hours instead of writing some nurturing things for this little blog I have.
It’s the guilt that’ll get ya, but there’s one thing to remember: just do one thing, and do it well.
And from personal experience, fail-videos are an excellent place to start.