Balance: October 2017

Another month, another belated update. But I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, because frankly October’s been too good to ruin by trying to put into words.

My plan for the month was to finally reconnect with the real world, after nine months preoccupied by my own little bubble of stuff. In reality though, October passed by in a fairytale of DIY, gym classes, and cosy evenings in. Okay, perhaps not your classic fairytale – but it really has felt like a whole new world.

October was a month of family and friends; fresh air and green spaces; spa days and DIY days; making the most of our new local leisure centre; and enjoying the peace and quiet of our new life. Outside of all that, the real world has felt too grim, too overwhelming, and too traumatic to engage with – and so I haven’t, really.

Shutting out everything from Weinstein to Westminster, I’ve quite happily sunk into the warmth and comfort of suburban grown-up life: cooking and yoga classes with my 17-year-old sister, tea and cake with our lovely new neighbours, and a long weekend at Center Parcs Woburn Forest with the family.

I’ve crunched my way happily and aimlessly through the autumn leaves, I’ve loved finally having a workspace all of my own, and I’ve relished watching my cats eagerly explore the freedom beyond our back door.

After months of attempting (and miserably failing) to run before I could walk, my body is finally strong enough to get back into the exercise regime that I’ve so badly needed. There’s been swimming, badminton, yoga, Pilates, Body Balance, aqua yoga, spinning, so much walking, and it’s made the most enormous difference to both my mental and physical health.

I’m more energised, more motivated, and everything just feels easier. Who knew that a life of herbal tea, gentle strolls, and lunchtime Pilates classes would suit me so much better than the gin, takeaways and self-pity that dominated the first half of this year? Sure, reality probably beckons again in November, but October was absolute perfection.

 

Balance: September 2017

New chapters

I’ve always loved September. There’s something a little magical about that back-to-school feeling: new pens, fresh notebooks, new opportunities to explore, and the chance to start over. The new academic year has always felt ripe with possibilities for reinvention and discovery – and, as my birthday falls in September, it also marks a new year in my life.

So, it’s always very much been a month of new chapters for me, and this year was no exception. Instead of a new school or university year, what September 2017 had in store was my biggest new chapter to date: moving from our little east London flat – our first home together – to a proper grown-up house with stairs, a garage, a downstairs loo, and a garden, and settling into our brand new life in the suburbs.

Of course, in keeping with the theme of MY YEAR SO FAR, not much about that new chapter actually worked out according to my plans. But we got there in the end!

Moving and leaving

September was stressful, beyond all the usual stress of moving house, and probably also my least balanced month of the year to date. I worked like a Trojan, and I spent virtually every spare minute packing up the flat, or chasing the solicitor, or crying in frustration. I did very little else. There was no reading, except Sue Perkins’ delightful memoir Spectacles, which was wonderful company once I finally managed to relax. There was no exercise, except anxious and irritable pacing. And I stress-ate approximately seven million calories over the course of the month.

I think this must be the latest of all the monthly updates I’ve posted this year and, for all the same reasons, I’m also going to keep it the shortest. We ended up completing on the purchase of our house at 5pm on my birthday, after roughly three weeks of stress and delays. We had just enough time for celebratory pizza, prosecco, and negligible sleep before – less than 12 hours after moving in – we had to leave for Gatwick at 4.30am.

In all fairness, we had a lovely week in Italy with my in-laws, staying not far from Venice and enjoying plenty of wonderful Italian wine, pasta, pizza, and gelato. But the timing really could not have been less ideal. For the first two days I found it completely impossible to relax. I sat on the beach, registering for council tax and ordering appliances on my iPhone; I text my brother, who was house sitting, requesting updates on the house and the cats roughly every ten minutes (neurotic, me?); and I continued my pattern of not really sleeping for more than a couple of hours at a time.

Coming home

Then I crashed. On our third night, I slept for ten blissful hours and, having caught up on sleep, I did manage to chill out a bit and enjoy myself for the rest of the week. We had a beautiful day exploring Venice, several days doing as little as possible, and then got back to our new house, ready to start our new chapter, with just five hours left of September. It was exactly as we’d left it – full of boxes and chaos – but I’ve never been so pleased to come home. Bring on the next chapter…