Returning to routine

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I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions because I’m a firm believer that you can start and end anything at any time. The start of a new year is convenient for a lot of people because it follows the lackadaisical holiday break that precedes it. It’s easy to fall off the health and fitness wagon when surrounded by tamales, mince pies and one warm alcoholic drink after another, which is what makes the start of January ideal for those returning to work and school to ease back into a routine that will undo the indulgence.

I’ve been a professional student my entire life up to this point. I had two weeks off for winter break through the end of high school and once I began university, I had a month off. This pattern was repeated until this year when things changed a bit as I technically finished my studies back in September. I interned 40 hours a week from October – December and spent the second week of December scrubbing my house clean and packing my belongings into three suitcases and a backpack to come home under threat of visa expiration.

It’s indescribable being forced to leave the city that has really made me feel the most like myself and helped me grow professionally, academically and personally, so I feel as though I’m in a haze and the timing is giving me flashbacks to this time last year when the days blended together and 4 am was a normal bedtime (jet lag is always worse for me traveling from London – US). Things are different though as I now spend my days searching for jobs on LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor. I’m applying to a few a day, not really setting a goal yet as I guess the harsh reality of a dwindling bank account and passage of time have yet to set in and usher me to the nearest Starbucks for a day of writing cover letters.

No, now is the time for taking care of things I won’t have time for when I do get a job. I’m Marie Kondo-ing my life at the moment in another move that follows the same pattern I have of decluttering and cleaning every time I return from university. I’ve realised through the deep clean and weighty task of packing up a year and a half’s worth of my life that my anxiety is heightened and then eased through the process of having a spotless, organised space. I’ve also realised I can’t live in a house or with other people. I need a small studio to myself, one I can completely maintain and one that won’t spiral out of control when all the cleaning falls on my shoulders week after week and when I have the foresight to ensure I’m not buying too much that I won’t be able to pack it all up or leave the donations to someone else. Mess = stress.

I realised I can live quite comfortably out of three suitcases and some change, so I’ve begun to bin the things that can’t be salvaged and recycle that which can help someone else and do a bit of good for the planet. This process has shown me that I have a lot of shit and I intend to cut down to the things I love and use (I actually haven’t read Marie Kondo’s books, but that’s the main takeaway, right?).

I also fell ill for the first time in four years (that was also on the heels of returning from London for the first time, so obviously my body naturally rejects the idea of coming back to America). Google told me I had environmental bronchitis (maybe); I basically breathed in a bunch of pollutants and allergens during the massive cleaning of my house, along with all those great fumes from antibacterial sprays. I also wasn’t eating much, got little sleep, was stressed about money and the reality waiting for me back home and had no time to just rest or take advantage of the last precious moments in my favourite city. My journey home was the definition of a hot mess. I was sporting a long, heavy coat throughout Heathrow for three hours, along with my stuffed carry on and bulbous backpack. Throw in cough meds, a snotty nose, The Holiday and general flight anxiety and you had one sweaty and sobbing Sabrina. I cried from the moment my flatmate left me at security until halfway down the highway to my aunt and uncle’s house in Dallas.

This sobfest I’ve just described was basically my way of saying I was too unwell to work out and despite having gone to a spin class at the start of my illness, I was without a car the entire week before I made it back home, then my car battery died and I was once again immobile for a few days. Once that was all sorted and I was feeling better, it was 29 Dec and I dragged my cousin Kat to the local Pure Barre where I purchased a month of unlimited classes (ha! Beat the January 1st rush!). Truth is, I would have bought the pass on 18 Dec when I was originally supposed to be home, but the universe had other plans so now I join those few who begin the year with good intentions of going to the gym every day. Before this, I was attending spin class regularly, making it to TWO festive rides (I never felt so alive).

My other fitness outlet Yoga With Adriene does a 30 Days of Yoga Challenge at the beginning of each year (I started with her first one in March of 2015 before joining her every January since). She posts a new video every day in January, so it’s nice to have a set pace that I don’t really have to think about and I love the challenge of carving out time for myself with a yoga practice every single day. This practice is more of a mental health thing than something physical, so I welcome it every January and enjoy repeating different challenges throughout the year.

Finally, the blog. I’ve really neglected the creative flow of my inner writer since my last post about meeting Daniel Radcliffe (still not over it). As part of my digital media course, I had to keep a blog and post at least three times a week. While I love blogging, the assignment, instructor and entire program were so unorganised that I found myself struggling to come up with content for an assignment, let alone for fun. Once the term ended, I gave myself a break before finding myself writing for a magazine (a job I LOVED and would go back to in a heartbeat). I was juggling this fun, creative writing with the structure and torment of a final project/dissertation topic I didn’t agree with (my program seldomly made any sense). Once my internship and dissertation were finished at the end of August, I had lost my voice. I knew I wanted to alter my tone and approach the old topics I loved with a fresh twist, but I was confused. I had been juggling the fun writing style of Absolutely London Magazine and the formality of a major academic paper for so long that I didn’t know how to begin to find my own voice again.

I wrote blog post after blog post, typing away all of my thoughts and feelings but when it came time to hit publish, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. This wordy post may convey that I’m still trying to find that perfect tone, but in the crazy midst of searching for a job, I’ve decided I need something to keep me sane and focused. Two constants have ruled my life: reading and writing. Finishing my BA in lit resulted in another very long break from reading where very little was bringing me joy and tearing me away from digital media. I had read the classics and the Harry Potter series, so what was left? I’m not sure what I was looking for, but the desire to read has been awakened again and I feel more inspired to write than I have before, probably because I’m over working on my CV and cover letters. This blog started as a way to write what I wanted, when I wanted and while I have changed, that simple fact hasn’t. While I didn’t intend the start of 2018 to signal the start of so many other things in my life, it seems that the natural way of the universe has made it so that this is in fact the cliched case. So, 2018, it’s a new year, but it’s just a refreshed, eager and somewhat terrified and uncertain me.

 

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