I’m not that much fun to be friends with at the moment, I’ll admit it. I’m rarely saying yes to invitations, and when I do I am the first to head home. I’m not initiating anything, and I’ve all but stopped going out mid-week. Mondays are set aside for cooking, Tuesdays + Thursdays + Saturday mornings are for crossfit, and Wednesdays I’ve been trying to work on my novel. That’s not to say I am not missing everyone like crazy. And of course, I am still making time for my nearest and dearest. I’m just not being a party animal. There are several reasons for this, and while I initially experienced a great deal of FOMO and anxiety that no one would be there for me when I was ready to re-join the land of the living, I have gotten past that now and made peace with my hibernation.
So, why am I playing the hermit crab? Five good reasons:
1. I want to concentrate on my nutrition. Since cutting out all grains and really shaking up my eating habits about 8 weeks ago, so many great things have happened. The keratosis pilaris that I have always suffered on my upper arms is just gone. Gone. I can’t even describe how happy that makes me. My skin in general feels softer and just…in better condition. My tummy is rarely angry or inflamed, when that was essentially a way of life for me before. I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt so healthy! And although the scales say nothing has changed, I know that my body shape has. This is also due to exercise, but you can work out all day and if you eat shit nothing is going to happen. So I really want to keep cooking for myself and only eating food I eat. I want to get a good repertoire up and then just spend one night per week cooking for the whole week ahead. This means it’s harder to join in on dinners out. And anyone who cooks for me can expect explicit instructions and a thousand insane questions (sorry Fais!). But it’s something I need to do. Something I want to do.
2. I want to concentrate on exercise. I love crossfit. I don’t think that’s a secret. What’s also not a secret is that I am shit at it (“Kelly”, I am looking at you, bitch). (PS that’s the name of a workout, not a person.) But no matter how bad I am, or that I can only squat and dead-lift about a third of the weight that some of the other girls can, I simply love the feeling that the workouts give me. It’s not only physical but mental achievement. And this is something new to me. I have never before liked exercise. And I want to set aside my three times per week for it, with the devotion of a church-goer. So those nights too, I am unavailable. I am hibernating. And it’s something else I really want to do.
3. I want to save money. I’ll be honest. I am already totally over not spending. I hate my wardrobe. It’s coming into winter and I only have two jumpers. I might need to buy an item or two just so I have a full week’s worth of things for the office. I’ve done everything I can think of – sectioned it off into little capsule wardrobes that I rotate amongst, combined pieces I have never tried together before, tried to find any clothing swaps going on (none). I desperately wish I could just go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. But what I really want is to just pay off my debts already and be square. And the harder I hibernate, the quicker that will happen. So I am doing alternative things, like inviting friends to my place and cooking for them. Or meeting people after dinner if I go out at all. And trying to limit the amount of drinks I have when I am out. And trying my hardest to stay off the shopping websites. I think one trick I will try is getting some nice lipstick. I never wear lipstick but it makes people look really dressed up and as though they have made an effort. It might draw attention away from the fact that I am basically wearing the same black skirt each day…
4. I want to cut back on alcohol. Not cut it out. Never, ever cut it out. But just not drink so mindlessly. Not have so many nights where I can’t pull myself together for work, or where I waste a whole Sunday in bed recovering. Because I am shit at not having hangovers. I have already become much better at this. I haven’t really had a big night out in a long time. And I do want one, I will be back. But winter is a great time for me to be doing this. It’s dark early, the beergardens are closed, it will soon be holiday season and most of my ex-pat friends will fly home. So it’s a good time to be limiting my alcohol intake. Temporarily.
5. I want to finish this novel. I have had this idea in my head for about five years. And I just want to get a draft out. I know it will be terrible, I am prepared for that. But it’s the thing I want most in this life – to complete a book. To write. I mean, I do it all day at work, but to write something I would want to read. And it takes time. And it’s really hard. I’m currently on around 16,ooo words. I plan to spend most of tomorrow getting that up to 25,ooo. And then I am back on track to finish Nanowrimo by November 30. Of course, I realise that by “finish” I mean have the world’s roughest first draft. But at least it will be something I can edit. And at least I will be taking steps all the time towards my dream.
So that’s why I’m feeling ok with the fact that I am spending a little more time than usual alone. Why I am ok with saying no a bit more often. Come 2015, I cannot wait to launch and best version of me there is. To get back out and enjoy socialising a little more. But in the meantime, I’m working on my goals.
They’re just shit, aren’t they? Breakups. I’m going through one now. It’s not fun, but I’ll get over it. It’s kind of the least interesting part of this story. When I’ve been through a breakup in the past, there has always been a sure-fire way to cheer myself up. Hit the shops. Buy something pretty. Some new makeup. Shoes. Jewellery. Something that makes me feel good about myself. Maybe get my hair did. Actually…I might still do that part. But I can’t do anything else. My hands are tied, and my purse is closed.
So now I have to look for other ways to get through it. And I found possibly the best three today.
I was booked in for a crossfit class this morning, but after having been out drinking with friends last night, and also having laid awake thinking everything over during the night, it was the absolute last thing I felt like doing. I tried to make a deal with myself that if I could stay home today and drink whiskey and eat junkfood and cry, then I’d get right back on the horse next week. Except I knew it was a lie. Once I get out of the swing, it’s really hard to get back into it. So I forced myself, literally used every single ounce of energy I had to wipe my nose, splash water on my face and get out the door.
The workout was really awful. Completely punishing. (You can skip straight to the next paragraph if you like.) We learned snatch pull-unders, which I seemed to need remedial instructions for. Then we did 3 sets of 8 ring dips, alternated with 16 kettle-bell rows. Then we started a whole new workout: 5 rounds of 3 overhead squats, 6 burpees, 9 toes-to-bar and 12 kettle-bell lunges. At the end I was completely fucked.
But I realised something.
My head was totally clear. I had not thought about anything but surviving the workout for a whole hour. I had complete clarity on the situation, I knew it was the right decision and that things will be better now. I left the box feeling like I could charm the world. Even though I totally stank and was dripping with sweat and my face was beet red.
I’m going to go to every single session – going to read this back to myself when I need the motivation to go.
Oh. My. God. I have the best friends (my baby sis is one of the greatest) in the whole world. They have come out of the woodwork to support me and book out my days and check in and see if I want to hang out and take me for drinks and send me little whatsapp messages that just contain the kissy-face guy. I freaking love that kissy-face guy. I am totally not alone, and knowing how wonderful these people are and that they love me is the best kind of balm. Lucky, lucky me.
My sister recommended I start some totally addictive, not-too-mentally-demanding TV series, to help me through any difficult hours. “Suits” is that show. Hot guys, funny banter, catchy story-lines and just the right amount of clever to keep me watching.
So this is what I am replacing retail therapy with. And I have to say, it’s even better.
But I’m still gonna get my hair did.
Got any other tips for me?