I know that as you read this, many of you are overwrought with Mumma or Daddy commitments, work, and study. But you can’t give into your struggle because the world says that’s a sign of weakness. And I’m no psychic, but I also know that you’ve at one time or another, maybe at this minute – bribed yourself with food. “I had an apple for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, and my soup for dinner, which means I can indulge in this one square of chocolate…” – sound familiar?
You’re allowed to ‘tap out’ every now and then. And when you do, no you’re not supposed to feel guilty for it. I’m well aware that almost all of you don’t have the luxury of jetting off for the weekend, or buying yourself the most expensive perfume you’ve been eyeing off for a year. So, before you jump ahead and assume I’m living in a fairy tale world, that’s not what I’m referring to.
After landing in Europe, there’s a lesson that Spain and Italy in particular have taught me. They were the first two countries I visited in Europe, and since then, I’ve noticed a pattern in many other parts of the continent. That is – to live life abundantly. Before traveling, to me ‘abundantly’ had an automatic link to money, and as a University student, my previous self would be aiming some hectic eye rolls in my direction right now. Though it’s become apparent to me that to live a happy and fulfilling life has nothing of a materialistic presence. And before I forget, it’s not something that we have to earn!
For some reason (I’m just going to blame social media and magazines for this) our lives revolve around a reward system. It saddens me to see teenage girls bribing themselves by means of an hour in the gym before they’re ‘allowed’ to eat a chocolate brownie. Being in Southwest Europe, I noticed the locals valued their favourite foods, and I’ve now realised that not once did I see them rushing to work, or running to wherever they needed to be. There’s no guilt related to lazing in a coffee break, and escaping in a book, because it is simply a right, not something reserved for our cheat day ‘reward’.
The rush that 2017 has injected into our daily stride doesn’t get to dictate when you’re allowed to relish in what you enjoy, because we’re entitled to it. Please don’t struggle through your day to the brink of overdoing yourself not because you don’t have 5 minutes to spare but because you’re scared of the guilt associated with just sitting for five minutes, just eating a piece of cake, or just taking your eyes off your screen to watch a movie.
Last year I was working five days a week, plus one and a half at University, and for some reason on my one day off, I felt obliged to be out of bed being productive when in fact there was absolutely no need to do so. Nowadays, if I don’t have work to do and I feel like sleeping in then that’s exactly where you will find me. If I want to have a second Turkish Delight with my coffee, then I’m going to have a second damn one and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.
What I’m trying to say is, if you have a day off, then have a day off, if you have a spare 5 minutes, then relish it, don’t fill it with work that will get done regardless of that miniscule breather. Amid our 9 to 5, it’s that breather that will keep you sane and remind you of your worth. You’re worth more than a high distinction at school, and what other people think of you. So what you haven’t gotten out of your pyjamas today (neither have I), so what you gave your kid a happy meal because you can’t be bothered cooking, and so what you chose the expensive cheese because it goes better with your 5 dollar wine. I’m not judging, and those that are don’t matter.
This self-loving way of life has become my mantra, and it’s staying that way. My version of abundance is a second dessert, or escaping in my favourite book for an hour rather than my textbook, what’s yours?
– Haylee x