Monday, 31 December 2012

Continuity vs. Change

Coming home for the holidays as a university student is always a difficult re-adjustment. I remember my first term coming home. I had spent 3 months cooking for myself, making my own cups of tea in the morning and learning that you do not put red jeans in a predominantly white wash, even if you do invest in Poundland colour catchers (they don’t work). To come back to familiarity, home cooking meals and mysteriously self-washing clothes (that don’t come back pink) should seem like bliss, so why did it feel like a step backward? Why was I expecting everything to have changes and I was confronted with the realization that continuity prevailed?
Flash forward a year and it’s the Christmas holidays after a tough first term of second year.  After a year of practice, my parents and I have found a balance, which still undergoes frequent revision.

The title of this blog post will be a very familiar concept to those who study history (and possibly other humanities subjects, I’m not sure.) It is the debate over whether our past can be divided into easily digestible chunks, periods separated by a radical change in society or lifestyle, or whether this is a framework imposed by the poor historian who is trying to make some sort of sense out of the mess that come before us. Recently, there was the Facebook (and apparently news worthy) subject of the Mayan prophecy that on the 21st December 2012 there would be a transition into a new era. In classic human fashion we deemed this to mean there was going to be an apocalypse and we were all going to die (needless to say this was probably a bit too far-fetched).
The Human habit of trying to categorise the past and seek order out of complexity is one which is both a quality and flaw. We should pride ourselves on our ability to rationalise the irrational and discover trends which we can remind us of what NOT to do, but is this really the most effective way to live your life.
Back to the everyday and it is difficult not to look back on your own life and try to pinpoint certain events which led to the circumstance you find yourself in today. The phrase ‘how did it get to this point? Where did it all go wrong?’ is one which frequently comes out in drunken tears at New Year’s Eve parties to a complete stranger who you end up waking up next to in the morning, accompanied by a headache and the depressing realisation that this year will most probably be exactly the same as the one just passed. However, this does not stop us trying to make a change. New Year’s resolutions have a reputation for being overly ambitious and lasting a week, a month if your ‘truly committed’, until you discover the left over Terry’s chocolate orange from Christmas and normality resumes along with a feeling of failure and ‘fuck it ill try again next year’.

This year I want it to be different. My New Year’s resolution is to accept continuity and the changes it brings. Embrace the butterfly effect and get swept away by the unpredictability of life and its spontaneous challenges. I’m tired of trying to control the future and make sense of the past, its and pointless pursuit and one which takes up time that can be better spent doing two separate clothes washes, trying to locate the Christmas chocolate that ‘must be around here somewhere, and revising the concept of continuity vs. change for the upcoming January exams so that next year I don’t find myself crying into a bowl of stale crisps wailing ‘where did it all go wrong’. We can’t plan our future but we can face the challenges life brings with optimism, bravery and the resolution that everything happens for a reason. So pass the champagne and see in the next year in the comfort of knowing life will carry on as normal, and there will probably be an apocalypse in 2013 anyway J.

Peace and Love x

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Bliss of a Black Hole

So it's been over a month, a really long month.

When it comes to finding a work/life balance I seem to constantly wobble. I'm sure everyone has those days/weeks/months when you feel like you're living in a black hole. This black hole was called Hallward Library. It was 'deadline doomsday' folks!
My life slowly began to revolve around three 3000 word essays; hanging over my head like a black cloud and slowly turning me into a hermit.

The black cloud period wasn't great. The storm came and really hit hard. Panic Attacks, Stomach cramps and an inability to stop crying wasn't how I wanted to spend the majority of my November. It was a tough month, not going to lie. To feel like you are literally going crazy is one of the scariest things i have ever experienced...

The Darkness
To come out of the darkness and into the light
knowing you cant make it one more night
Drowning in tears unable to breathe
Strangled by the pressure you can't seem to releive
Want to seal off the world and hide away
Not wanting to live the rest of today
But try again tomorrow when the day is new
It will be outside the window that is cold and blue
Be surrounded by love, remember who you are
The days and night end morning is never far.

With my thermos flask filled with liquid misery (i.e. highly caffeinated coffee) Hallward became my home, my family became the Starbucks staff and my brain slowly dissolved into a History mush made up of  Atomic Diplomacy, 18th Century town life and Medieval Agriculture.

  'The Cage', as it was lovingly termed,  perfectly summed up the feeling that you're locked up until your sentence reaches its end. That end was 5th December.

Cue a beeline of the SU bar and a bottle of Rose followed by too many strawberry cocktails and lost memories of a history social (only to be revived when the gut wrenching notification comes up on facebook that you have been 'tagged').

I would just like to publicly thank the most amazing friends that were always on hand to cheer me up, give me hugs and empathize.I can honestly say I wouldn't be here without them and I cannot thank them enough! (you know who you are!).

Once the hangover cleared so did the dark cloud.

Welcome back to Uni life!

Peace and Love x