Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work

Last week I had 3 days off work. I travelled to Birmingham and then to Sheffield to see The 1975. Seeing them has been a long time coming, and after countless people told me that I would adore every second, they still exceeded all my expectations. I get goose bumps when I watch the footage back on my phone, it feels like a distant fantasy; bopping to Girls, belting out Love It if we made it and silently weeping during Somebody Else, all whilst being in awe of the stunning visuals in an arena full of people who are there for exactly the same reason. Arguably you could say that I’m a little biased in my review, due to being a rather big fan – maybe even “stan” – of theirs, but I find that when reviewing things, I try to stay as level and realistic as possible, so rest assured, I’m not misleading you (unless you think they’re shit, and well in that case, I don’t know what to say). They were simply second to none, made even better by the company I had.

That brings me to today, a period of time I like to call “the come down”. It began swiftly on Saturday, when I soon realised regular adult life – office work – would soon resume, and it has continued to slowly build momentum over the past couple of days. Throughout the past year or so, as my mental state has been on a steady roller-coaster dipping and diving, I’ve come to understand that, whilst these come downs are not necessarily abnormal, they’re not usually endured by everyone with such intensity. Of course you’re bound to feel a little melancholy after you’ve been away from the pressures of mundane life, simply getting back into a habit of getting up early can feel like a mammoth task. But as this week progresses, I can feel myself falling deeper into this mental black hole, knotting my brain in an overwhelming amount of thoughts. I know its going to happen, its become habit by this point. I result in asking myself the same question each time: am I happy?

I should probably answer my question since I left it dangling there: no, I’m not. Unhappiness is a funny thing and unfortunately, this is the way for many people – particularly so when you’re trying to get used to a new way of life, new routine or struggling to process something. As the status quo shifts to a period of unfamiliarity, it becomes disappointingly easy to hark back to when things were unchanged – even if you weren’t any better off then to now. I haven’t been fully happy in a long while, in work and in myself, and I’ve been distracting myself from that with little highs like coffee dates, catch ups and unnecessary spending. It took a lot for me to admit that to myself, and as soon as I did I felt something lift. Not so much a pressure, more like a presence. I read a book once called “All That She Can See”, about a girl that could see people’s bad feelings manifested as large, scary, sometimes grotesque looking monsters that she cleverly called “Medlums”. This moment reminded me of that; I felt mine get that little bit smaller, as if the acknowledgement appeased its turmoil. I hate how terribly cliché this all sounds, like I’m coming to some sort of personal realisation, and by this time next week the dark shadow that falls over my being will be replaced by a warm, glowing light, like those ones you huddle around in pub gardens on a cold evening – I wish. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Work to live, don’t live to work” is a simple premise that I find difficult to grasp. The whole world literally revolves around work and my apparent work ethic runs a mile a minute. I find it hard to accept that your job, the thing you spend 1/3 of your life doing, is reduced to a daily task you endure only so you can afford good times away. And yet this is how so many people live their lives. I haven’t just plucked this statement out of nowhere, my mum has been saying it a lot to me recently in an attempt to help my work induced frustration – which it kind of has, but not in the way I know she intended (sorry mum).  After reflecting on my 3 days away, I think I’m making sense of it. That statement applies to now but not in the long run, and I’m always 5000 steps ahead of myself. You have to push your way through the bad to get out the reward – just like so many other ventures in life. Circumstances may not change immediately but this period of unhappiness will pass if I actually stick to working on it (instead of giving up), and whilst I am, I can have moments of goodness to keep me going. I just have to convince myself I deserve it.

What was this post about again? Who knows. The 1975 were incredible, check my instagram if you want to see more snaps.
Keep shining, see you next time


4 thoughts on “Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work

  1. This is my ethos, but i took a long time for me to figure it out! I still struggle to get through to the good things but i’m getting better at it also. I had to change jobs to make it better for myself and learn to not dwell on work when I was at home. Which I don’t do anymore. X

    Liked by 1 person

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