I’ve decided that nothing in modern life is designed to look out for your wellbeing, millenials and gen z are the loneliest generation for a reason; this ‘have our cake and eat it’ attitude is killing us!
There’s this idea that you can work a full time 40 hour work week, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, see friends, work on your ‘side hustle’, do additonal work to further your desired career (i.e. this blog for example!), see family and have a partner, whilst making adequate time for all those things and maintaining your mental well being. All this is expected without kids in the picture too, so I can imagine the pressure for young parents is insurmountable.
Does the pressure come from what employers expect from us now? To start early, finish late, skip lunch breaks and then go home and work on the skills necessary for us to excel? They have an abudance of people within the job market to choose from, so they can expect or demand absolute perfection.
Or does this pressure come from social media? No one (except that one person on your feed who repeatedly shares increasingly more depressing memes about their life being shit) is putting anything online that shows their life is imperfect. Facebook and instagram have become our c.v.- the shiny polished version of ourselves- for our friends and family.
And then there’s the actual media and I really don’t need to get into how bad that is for us, we all know that!
I don’t consciously feel like these things influence me and I’m not one to be easily pressured (never been the status quo and I am cool with that) but I am still very prone to ‘burn out’; to push and push until I burn myself out. It started during my GSCE’s, at one point I was working 20+ hours (evening and weekends), training and playing netball, going to theatre school and I had boyfriend! I only got one C at GSCE -the rest were B and above. By every standard there was, I was excelling but the truthis that I was miserable. I did homework backstage between numbers, I did revision during my breaks at work, I would come home from that evening’s activity and stay up secretly finishing assingments. My parents don’t even know that I was existing on four hours sleep on average. I was a smart, active kid- I was excelling, I had everything I needed to set me up for A levels and my uni application. By the end of A levels I couldn’t keep it up anymore, I recieved far below my predicted grades; no teachers spotted it, they were as mystified as I was.
Have I learned my lesson? Absolutely fucking not.
My job is busy and intense, I have to be on the ball from the second I walk through the door but do I give myself a break when it comes to my evenings? Hells naw. I want to be a published fiction writer, I want my career to progress into one that is writing full time in some respect or another. This means I must write this blog, maintain my writing twitter and instagram but also carry on writing my #whip, as well building a portfolio of other smaller stories and poems. I also need to be looking into free lance writing work, so that I have some tangible professsional experience as a writer (my current role involves writing but it’s one of those-worked-my-way-up-don’t-officially-have-the-title-and have a lot of other responsbilties within said role kinda deals). I also play for a netball team, attend training for that team and (try) to go to the gym. Oh, yeah, not to mention seeing some humans besides my colleagues on occasion.
And I am capable of doing all of these things until it exhausts me and then I do nothing (hence the long absences of posts on this blog). Maybe it comes from being one of the smarter kids who got used to recieving praise for exhausting myself but I cannot stand to do things halfway. I want to do it well, or I won’t do it at all.
To all people like me, or to anyone this resonates with: we need to be forgiving of ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves, we need to remember we are only human.
I recently had two weeks off work and it took me much much longer to wind down than it ever has done before. I suck at relaxing and taking care of myself but I’m not the only one, when I speak to my friends, they are exhausted, pursuing ‘living their best life’, pursuing their futures, whether their goals be career or family orientated (or more often both! Which is the crux of the issue, no?). Killing themselves for bosses who don’t give a crap about them and will replace them in a heartbeat. Perfectionism permeates our lives, whether you’re a person who is that way inclined or not, there is a persistent air of ‘not being good enough’.
So I’m trying for small amounts of progress, giving myself time for things like this and time to re watch Supernatural for the billionth time.
We need to learn to half arse this life otherwise we will always be less than.