What Do You Do For Fun? 23 and ‘Boring’

I was recently asked what I do for fun, what my hobbies are. I replied as I always do I blog, I read a lot and I write. People don’t really believe me when I say that’s what I do for fun. Don’t you go out? Don’t you drink etc, etc. That’s usually how it goes. So sometimes I think about it, am I boring for my age?

I’ve never been one for regularly going out to clubs and partying. When I was a teenager I went to house parties, hosted by my boyfriend. When I was in college I didn’t go out drinking still, only to a few house parties. In my first six months at university, I went out to a club grand total of two times the first I was on the night bus crying by midnight because I had an anxiety attack. The second time I came home early. In Second year I’d get drunk so I wasn’t anxious and go out with friends. In Third year I didn’t go out at all. Then I graduated and became even more comfortable with my own life.

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You might follow me on Instagram and think, hang on I’ve seen pictures of you out with friends. I do go, occasionally. Once a month my friends and I try and go out for drinks or I might go to see or do something. For a long time, I got hung up on the fact I didn’t feel ‘normal’, I felt ‘boring’. I had this idea in my head of what I was meant to be doing.

There is a pressure I think. Travel the world, but save money. Go out and party, but spend all your time networking and building a career. Have fun, but think seriously about your future, you only get one chance. All of these things going through your mind.

The thing is, I like staying at home and reading books or writing. Blogging makes me happy. Spending time on my craft, reading a really good book, having lie-ins or just chatting with my boyfriend is a good weekend. I like going out and seeing and doing too but I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not going out every weekend.

I thought, for a long time, the worst someone could call me was boring. I was fun right?  I was entertaining? People would want to hang out with me? I tormented myself worrying about this shit. Slowly, I’m working towards not caring about that stuff, about doing my own thing and what makes me happy. And, for me, that’s what’s important doing things I love to do rather than what everyone else is doing.

I want to hear from my lovely readers! Do you ever feel like you’re not doing ‘what you should’ or a bit boring? Do you ever feel under pressure to be or act a certain way because of your age? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Sunday Seven: Tips for a Good Work/Life Balance

Now, to start this post I’m not claiming I have a perfect balance in my life (does anyone) BUT in the past year, I’ve learned a lot about having boundaries between work and home. If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you’ll know that this started a long time before I was working full-time, I’m terrible at switching off. That said, I do have a few tips to make things easier. So, really, this is for any self-confessed workaholic whether you’re a student, working full-time, volunteering or anything!

Work hard, play harder. 

It’s absolutely fine to work hard, it’s a great feeling to achieve, however, you need to play in your own way. That doesn’t mean going out on the town every weekend, it means finding something that you enjoy! For me, it’s a weekend bookathon!

Plan time with your friends and family. 

If you make plans, you have to stick to them. It’s very easy when you’re at home alone or have nothing planned to sit on your laptop and continue working late into the night. By making plans you need to step away and not think about it!

Working late is ok, but not every day. 

Sometimes you have to have a late night, you have things to do. That’s not a bad thing, deadlines happen or things might go wrong. There might even be a period of late nights (I’m looking at you dissertation writers) but you shouldn’t have to do that every single night.

Switch off your work phone/PC. 

Once the working day is done I switch off my work phone and PC. I’m lucky because I can do that, I’m not on call. If you can do that it’s a great way to switch off and have your own time.

Go to bed at a reasonable time! 

There’s nothing worse than trying to get things done with sleep deprivation. Nothing. Worse.

Make sure you take your allocated holiday! 

If you’re reading this from a working perspective most companies are good at telling you to take your holiday, because they recognise you need a break at times. If you’re a student reading this, I know the temptation to work every hour of the university holidays, you still need a break though, just like everyone else!

If you’re struggling, talk to someone.

I’m really lucky that where I work is incredibly open. If you do feel that things are getting a little too much and you’re working every hour of the day, talk to someone. Just one helping hand could make all the difference!

 

Is Uni Right For You? Pros and Cons of Going To Uni

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Going to university is a big decision. With tuition costs as high as they are a lot of people are wondering if university is right for them. I was the first person in my family to go to university and, for a long time, I wasn’t going to apply. I thought university was for rich kids, I didn’t think I’d fit. I thought that all universities were like Oxford and Cambridge (the only universities I knew) but I was wrong. Through the persistence of a great teacher and my boyfriend I realised I could go to uni. That said I know uni isn’t for everyone! So, I thought I’d put together the pros and cons of going to university.

Living

Pro: You have the opportunity to move if you wish – I was terrified to move to a place I didn’t know but it was the right thing to do looking back on it. It made me be independent, it made me know that I can look after myself and gave me space to work out who I was on my own.

Con: Moving back after uni is tough. I see a lot of people who didn’t go to uni who are starting to get on the housing ladder because they’ve been working and earning while I’d been studying.

Pro: Being able to run your own schedule and your own life. You can eat when you want, sleep when you want and come and go as you please.

Con: Remembering to look after yourself. I really struggled in my first year with loneliness, I wasn’t close with my flatmates. I’d lock myself away for days on end sometimes, which was really tough.

Work

Pro: Some degrees are needed to get into careers, that’s a fact. Likewise, there are some jobs where graduates are preferred.

Con: It can be difficult to work and study. Everyone knows that student loans are difficult to live on and so if you live in a city it can mean long hours.

Pro: Student jobs can pay a good wage.

Con: Student jobs can have very crappy hours.

Friendships

Pro: Making friends from all over the world is a great perk of going to university. I learnt a lot about other cultures

Con: When friendships go wrong it can be hard. When you’re away from home and friendships go wrong it can knock your confidence and make you feel lonely.

Pro: Meeting new people. Meeting new people was great for me, I needed a change and I needed to rebuild myself, which was a huge positive for me.

Con: Moving back after graduation. When all of your friends are all over the country or world it can be really hard to adjust and you do miss the.

Money

Pro: Getting a Student Loan to help while you study was great (although depending on what your parents earn and your circumstances will depend on how much help you get).

Con: Going to uni means you’re not on a full time wage. This really depends on how much you want to study because I know a lot of brilliant people who didn’t go to uni, went straight to work and have built up a good career for themselves.

Pro: Over their lifetime, on average, a graduate will earn more.

Con: If you’re not studying full time you can get a lot of knowledge and experience in your industry, all of my family did it this way!

Learning  

Pro: If you love studying then of course uni makes sense! I loved reading and learning theory and debating, it was the best part of my degree!

Con: Uni can be really tiring and taxing. In third year I didn’t really sleep much, I was very stressed towards the end and got sick because of it.

Pro: You can create your own education. There’s so much choice in terms of courses and modules.

Con: If you’re not interested in studying, writing and sitting in lecture halls uni might not be you and that’s not a bad thing! There are so many ways to progress, further your career and learn!

There’s so much more I could come up with so by no means is this exhaustive. Whether you go to uni or not doesn’t determine if you’re successful. What are your plans? I’d love to know in the comments below!

Living with Chronic Pain

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For the past year and a half I’ve been living with moderate to severe back pain. By definition this now means that I’m living with chronic pain, there’s no break from it, no rest , it’s just a constant part of my life. Living with chronic pain is not something that anyone chooses, in my case, it was because of an injury. We’re still not sure about the damage, I’m booked in to see another specialist and have another MRI scheduled.

I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again, it’s all about good days and bad days, as many illnesses are. On a good day, I might be able to do a light workout, walk around and the pain is just background noise. On a bad day, it’s like someone is hammering on my spine, the smallest things will hurt and climbing stairs can feel like Everest and when it’s at its worst I can’t feel much in one leg. I might have to take a crutch when I go to an event. I take my medication but it doesn’t even skim the surface, to say that it’s frustrating is an understatement.

But what’s it like to live with chronic pain? Well, it’s definitely not fun, but I’m always aware that my injury could have been much worse. I’m walking, when I was incredibly close to losing that all together. So I’m always aware of that but living with chronic pain means a lot of doctors appointments, a lot of tiring discussion, repeating yourself, physio and medication change after medication change. It’s not pretty, but for a lot of us, it’s just life.

Some people might not understand why I’m broadcasting this, why I’m letting myself possibly look weak. I don’t think that’s it though. I don’t think anyone who keeps fighting is weak and that’s what people with chronic pain do. We go to work, we live our lives the best we can, we just get on with it and that’s the simple truth of living with a chronic illness. Even when the pain is the worst it can be we carry on as best we can. That is what living with chronic pains is like.

Mental illness isn’t easy

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Up and down, up and down. Mental illness isn’t something easy to live with and as a uni student sometimes you get pressures that other people aren’t used to. I’ve been open and honest in the last three years on this blog about my life living with mental health issues. I’ve given speeches and I’ve tried to educate the people around me about illnesses. Despite all that I’m no superhero and I feel like that’s something I need to share because of course we post the most positive and best parts of our lives, but it’s not always real.

While I’m really happy to be back at uni and feel happiest when I’m in my lectures focusing and getting new ideas, when I’m on breaks I’m not as happy the depression creeps up and grabs me. I wish I could go I’m fine I’m great I never get depressed any more but that would be a lie. It is an illness and it is something I live with. I’ve found this week difficult, getting back into routine, dealing with the constant pain in my spine, trying to do the horse riding society, sorting band stuff out when shows are cancelled and organising everything else as well as doing my uni work and my job. It is a lot and I do get overwhelmed.

I guess the point of writing this is because I don’t want to seem like this person who has no worries, no troubles. I do struggle and I do have days where I just can’t face anything, need to switch my phone off and try and make my head stop spinning, usually by sleeping it off. I have days when I just feel like I can’t do anything or I’m angry because why the hell do I deserve this. At the same time though I’ve always said that having this illness really makes me appreciate happiness.

I don’t want people to freak out after reading this and call and text, this is part of my normal life. Just because I am open about it doesn’t mean that things are getting worse, there are times when I need my own time or I need time away but I’m dealing with my struggles in a much healthier way than I used to. I’ve lost horse riding but I’m playing with some other things and if all else fails I have my music.

I want to end this by saying don’t be afraid of admitting you have low days and that you’re not perfect. Having a mental illness doesn’t make you weak or stupid, it’s just something some of us have to deal with. As always I’m eternally grateful to the family, friends and incredible partner I have helping me through my fuzzy head days.

As always I love to hear from you guys and if you’d like to share your story feel free to email me chloefmetzger@gmail.com