…I’m a list-maker. I get it from my mother, who’s a diary & itinerary pro. And I’ve had quite a bit of free time recently – and being the kind of person who needs a to-do list in order to stay sane* – I’ve been really struggling to find stuff to do. I mean, sure, I have a dissertation to plan and write – and really should be lit-reviewing my socks off as I type this – but I can’t be doing that all the time. (Admittedly, doing it anyof the time would be a start.)
* I’m serious; I genuinely start to worry and freak out even more than usual when I have nothing to do. It’s amazing I ever make it on holiday.
Curiously, my love of list-making seems to have very little effect on my organisational ability. Essentially, I always know what I ought to be doing, but rarely will you find me actually doing it.
Apropos of nothing – while indulging in a spot of baking, or “literature review avoidance strategy #4” – it occurred to me yesterday that while I complain at length about the responsibilities that official, legal adulthood brings, there’s a fair few things that I thoroughly enjoy now having the freedom to do.
In no particular order, here’s some that sprang to mind.
1) Being able to eat what I want. For someone who yearns for the days of teenage will-power, because it took her to the skinny side of healthy for a while, and who could happily exist on salad, toast and halloumi cheese, this isn’t altogether a good thing. But the point stands.
Oh, and tomatoes-on-the-vine and peanut M & Ms too.
2) Being able to read/watch whatever I want. If I want to re-read my favourite books again and again, I can. If I want to go back and read only the best bits (and by ‘best’ I generally mean ‘raunchy’), I can. Yeah. Take that, society.
I can watch what I want, too. Case in point, the last couple of weeks have seen me on a little nostalgia trip to The OC, season one. I even watched the Oliver episodes, and damn, that never gets any easier. I’m also fighting the temptation to order the first season of Smallville from Amazon and re-live that drama.
3) I can just go “out”. Like, I can lock the door and go, not having told anyone where I’m going or when I’ll be back. What a maverick.
4) I can unashamedly do the spoon-licking, bowl-scraping thing. These aren’t euphemisms. I don’t do a huge amount of baking, but when I do, it’s now relaxing rather than stressful, and the bonus bit is scraping the remains of the cookie dough from the bowl and eating it. Ditto this with key lime pie filling. (That is heaven.)
5) I can be anti-social if I want to. You know when you were a child and you were invited to a party hosted by someone in your class you didn’t really like, and your mother made you go anyway? Or when you were in the midst of the teenage house-party stage and you thought maybe you didn’t want to go and drink awful cider for the third Saturday night in a row, but “everyone’s going to be there”? I don’t have to do that now, if I really don’t want to. Of course, some of the best nights tend to be the ones for which you don’t have high expectations, so there’s always that, but if I genuinely have stuff to do, or don’t feel on particularly sparkling conversational form, I don’t have to go and try really freaking hard to look like I’m having a good time. I can spare us all the trouble.
I can also leave a night out when I fancy. Not having fun anymore? I can go home. This does come with an inconvenient side-order of “no, you absolutely shouldn’t walk home alone, you silly girl”, it’s true. But you don’t need me to tell you that.
6) I can stay up til ridiculous o’clock if I so choose. This post was drafted at 3a.m. this morning, as apparently sleep and I don’t seem to be good bed-fellows right now. It was kind of depressing, watching the sky turn from city-light orange to pale bluey-grey, but I had a handful of blog post ideas and a good book to keep me company. If you’re at all interested in, or perplexed by human behaviour, check out “The Decisive Moment” by Jonah Lehrer. It’s a really interesting look at how the brain makes decisions – it was given to me partly as an in-joke, and I think the giver was hoping it was going to be more of a “how-to” guide.
On the subject of decision-making, I’m aware that items 1-6 on this list could well be paraphrased as “I can make my own decisions” – but if I’d actually written that, I know full well that friends and loved ones would have guffawed heartily and then not read any more of the post.
7) I can do stuff alone. (I’m slightly worried that the upshot of this whole post will be this: I am an anti-social loner freak who, at the age of 22, has realised she doesn’t like other human beings. I can assure you this is not the case. While tolerance isn’t something I’m known for, there are at least a few people of whom I am very fond.)
For example, clothes shopping*, going for a coffee, maybe the cinema. I’ve not actually been to the cinema alone but I really don’t think I’d find it weird. I have “quirky” (at best) taste in films so if there’s something I really wanted to see that no one else fancied, I’d happily go alone. I’ve also not gone to a gig alone but again, I don’t think it’s a big deal.
*I actually can’t clothes-shop with other people. For starters, I’m the annoying girl who takes forever in the fitting room. And if I really need to get something to wear for a specific occasion, the last thing I want is other people’s opinions. The only person I don’t mind shopping with is my mother, which is odd, but probably explained by the fact that sometimes, she’ll take pity on her poor broke student daughter and pay. I also trust her opinion on how things look; she doesn’t hold back. I tried on a dress at some point last year and her response was: “It’s nice, darling, but you really need better legs.”
I laughed. Kind of.
Anyhoo, I better go. I’ve got stuff like eating salad and watching The OC and maybe starting that lit review to do. I’ll leave you with these, ’cause I really like them:
P.S. I had to link to a lyric video for the latter, as none of the others sounded particularly great. I actually heard this song floating out from an open window as I walked through Cathays yesterday, and had to do the “quick, remember these lyrics” thing so I could find the track when I got home. Kudos to whoever it was with the good taste in music, I owe you one. Yeah, so it sounds a little boyband-y, but so what? Ciao.