We live in a highly-chaotic world. Nowhere is this more true than in London, the UK’s bustling capital city, where I’ve had the honour of living the past three years. Whether you like it or not, the pace of life here is fast – people even walk more quickly. There’s always a meeting to rush to, a drinks to make, a friend to see. It’s hard to find time to have a break in this crazy, busy city.
Even in life more general, there’s an unwritten expectation for us to constantly be doing something. For some reason, if you don’t have a job for a certain length of time, you’re seen as being lazy. Even if you didn’t go to university, at least in the background I’m from, you’re seen as an under-achiever – which is, of course, completely ridiculous. People should be able to live the life they want to live, free from societal pressure.
I’ve felt this pressure to work and to over-achieve all of my life. I felt it in primary school when I spent my spare time studying in order to take some of my SATs a year early. I felt it in high school and college where I filled my CV with part-time jobs and extra-curriculars, working hard to maintain my academic scholarship. And I felt it most of all when I went straight to university instead of taking a gap year (again, taking one of these was seen in my circles as pretty lazy) and doing all the travelling I’d always dreamt about. Almost all of my summers since I was 16 I’ve had a job, an internship, or I’ve been looking for a job. Even when I got my masters’ offer for Fashion Journalism at CSM (which starts in January), the first question lots of people ask have asked me is: but what are you going to do until then?
When I went to Morocco for a week in July, it was the best time I’d had in years, and the most relaxed I’d felt since I moved to London. Truth is, the stress of life and constantly working has got to me over the past few months, and I have been filled with an overhwhelming desire to relax. And when I returned to my normal life, all I could think was that my break hadn’t been long enough. Maybe that sounds like quite a privileged person’s thing to say, and I have been lucky to have a wonderful upbringing, as not everyone can necessarily afford to not work and take time. But the point stands that everyone deserves to.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve never switched off long enough to allow my mind to have a true break. And, so, as I write this, that’s precisely what I’m about to do. Tomorrow I am moving back home, to Warrington (just outside of Manchester), for the foreseeable future. I will miss London, that’s for sure, but I definitely felt like I needed a break from London life.
We only get one life – the fact is, you gotta make the most of it. I (like most of you readers in the 18-25 demographic) are so young. We have our whole lives to settle down into jobs and work the 9-5 life – so why are we in such a hurry? Now, when people ask me, ‘You’re not going to work over the next few months? So you’re just going to do nothing?’ my answer will be the following: actually, I’m going to do a hell of a lot. I’m going to learn to drive, go travelling, get back into playing tennis, finally read all the books on my list, really work on my blog and take it to the next level. Basically – I’m going to do all the things I could never find the time for during the past few years. See, I would rather live a life doing things I love and creating lasting memories than living one where I’m constantly working, feeling stressed and unhappy.
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If you guys ever feel stressed, overworked, etc., know that it’s okay to take a break for yourself. Whether it’s a day spa trip, a few weeks’ holiday or a break for a couple of months – everyone needs some ‘me’ time once in a while; some time to work on and enrich themselves. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
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