Photos by Sarah Treacher.
“It’s all messy: The hair. The bed. The words. The heart. Life…” — William Leal
There comes a point in every person’s journey where things feel a bit messy. Whether you’re finding it tricky to balance a work and life schedule, you’re juggling multiple sets of friends or you feel like those goals we set together in February are feeling further from reach than ever, let’s take 10 minutes out to really ascertain what’s going on and talk about embracing a messy life.
The fact of the matter is no matter how much you plot or plan or dream or do, life has its own little plan for us all and it’s inevitable that things won’t always go to plan. It’s easy to feel disheartened by not meeting goals as expected, especially in 2018, where competition is rife and platforms including Twitter and Instagram make it even easier to compare yourself to somebody else’s highlights reel. As together as I may make my own life seem, I can promise you that this month alone I’ve cried about five times, dropped coffee all over myself twice and have accidentally screen-shared my paused Netflix screen to a client. Oops.
I’m often commended online for seemingly nailing life and being an overachiever and that is both my success and downfall, I know it already.
A messy life is not a bad life. Believe it or not, all of us are real people behind the polished aesthetics we give out. You probably don’t have perfectly organised makeup collections or well-placed Kirby grips around the house (10 reader points to you if you can even locate ONE). I tend to do my makeup in bed most days and you’ll often find me working from my dressing table instead of in my freezing cold home office downstairs, doing my back not a whole lot of good. (My office is currently acting as an in tray for new Honey + Chai samples because I don’t want them on the floor and my sample rail is in pieces because we just shipped in some beautiful albeit heavy coats for our AW18 drop. Go figure.)
So what if we can’t always be bothered or can’t find the time to map out tomorrow?
The Action Plan
The plan is… no plan. Simple.
I’ve found myself embracing days where I have simply two focuses and everything else is bonus. For example, Monday is devoted to business admin (invoicing and reaching out to potential clients) and one of my clients. Tuesday and Wednesday are both devoted to two clients. Thursday is set aside for Barre class and tidying my home office. Friday is for a hardcore workout and business admin. Of course in between all of that, I work on other things, but only focusing on two main items per day has helped me to magnify my progress in each of those areas and I also feel like I’ve been extra productive by being able to check off bonus items like, ‘go to the gym’, ‘call X friend’ and ‘read for an hour’.
Another handy thing that I’ve implemented is to be selective of what online content I consume. I’ve noticed this movement much more prominently in 2018, but it’s simply choosing which blog posts to click into and which Instagram accounts I follow. If a platform is no longer inspiring me to live happily, healthily or popping a smile on my face, I reassess whether I should continue following it. Sadly mental health issues directly relating to social media make up around 70% of that in young people, and I think it’s important to learn to recognise when following particular individuals might become damaging. As much as it’s of course important to support fellow creatives and creators, I think my current feed is great and I continue to support the creators I unfollowed on other platforms if I think I can/should.
Braindump It All
Grab a huge piece of paper or turn to a new page in your ‘omg I’m a girl boss’ notebook. And note down any words that come to your mind when you think of your messy life and those far-flung goals. They might be words like, ‘travel’, ‘dream’, ‘rest’ or even more practical things like ‘remember to post RSVP notes’ and ‘book dentist appointment’. A brain dump will help to alleviate your stress by getting things down on paper, without worrying about it looking like a beautiful page of notes like you see on Instagram.
Realign Those Goals
If you feel like your messy life comes from feeling like your goals are unachievable, then let’s take a moment together to realign those. What exactly is it about your goal that feels unattainable? Is it the measurement? Or perhaps there’s a physical or monetary reason for it? Remember, you’re in charge of your own life and goals, and at any given chance, you can change it.
For example, I no longer think it’ll be feasible for me to indulge in a sibling holiday and a sister holiday (truly indulgent goals) when I want to buy a house and plan my best friend’s hen ‘do this year. And while the rest of the online creator community seems to be in a new country every weekend sharing goals AF photos, that’s been a hard pill to swallow. But I’ve simply scratched off that goal, planned in some fun UK-only activities and taken great delight in planning all of the beautiful decor and furnishings for said first home.
Or on a more #relatable level, I haven’t kept to my ‘will work out every week’ goal because I’ve suffered from awful period pains this year and even suffered a debilitating panic attack that left me bed-bound for 3 days.
If anything, take pleasure in cancelling a goal and instead deciding to live messily and happily, by the day instead of for the year.
Get A Bullet Journal
Having a journal/diary that has no dates (aside from the ones I put in there) has been a breath of fresh air. As a freelancer, some of my weeks are scarily empty and it’s kinda good to just skip those from my diary and ease my mind. I’m an advocate of going by your own pace and not worrying about somebody else’s path, and this is a great way of doing so. Dates are really confining for me, in a similar way to how timetables and rigid scheduling often trigger panic attacks.
Enroll In An Online Course
On Black Friday last year, my brother and sister bought online courses for coding and program development. And stupidly, I opted not to. One of my goals for this year is to put myself back into some sort of study to progress my career and enrich my mind. I think it’d be a brilliant way to help add a little direction back into your year, and there are some awesome short courses available either in London, online at Skillshare (seriously, such an incredible platform!) or even at your local college.
Chill Out and Have A Virtual Daisybutter Hug!
Lastly, don’t worry about it! 100% of the times that I’ve spent worrying about my goals, future and direction, it’s all panned out by itself without any ulterior motive from me. Annoying, but true.