Picture the scene: it’s 8pm on a weekday evening and I’m browsing through the movies available on Sky Anytime. Categories first: Most popular, New releases, All time greats, Actor playlists… Genres next: Indie, Action, Comedy, Horror, Drama, Rom Com… And finally, the big decision… A smile spreads across my face when I come across the films I know by heart – oh hello, 27 dresses – but I’ve seen them, you know? I shouldn’t watch them again. So in between the Friends re-runs that are playing in the background, I watch a few trailers for the films I’ve never heard of, concluding that none look particularly life-changing, then somehow it’s 10.30pm, and too late to watch a film anyway. So I go to bed, overtired and unmoved.
Now picture this: I’m in the supermarket. I’m planning to cook a lovely meal for my boyfriend, who’s put up with a lot of my grumping around lately (not unrelated to the fact that I’ve been up not watching movies when I should’ve been getting my sleep), except I seem to have forgotten everything edible that isn’t some form of baked fish. I had a recipe in mind earlier, but because I don’t want to buy every little thing on it just for one evening, I’m trying – and failing – to improvise. Anyway, forty-five minutes into my quick nip to the shop, I decide there’s only one thing for it: baked salmon and green beans. Again.
If my life were a TV sitcom or a film, I’m pretty sure that from these scenes alone you’d decide you wouldn’t want to be friends with me. Oh sure, I’m totally harmless, but wow – just watching me is frustrating. When did I get so indecisive? I must have made my good friends and locked things down with my relationship before those suckers saw the true scope of the issue…
The funny thing is, with big decisions – in work, relationships, or with new opportunities – I think I’m quite a natural. I’m very strong in my belief that there’s nothing more effective than trusting your gut, closely followed by a good list.
It’s the little things that can paralyse me. Tonight, for example, I spent no less than two and half hours trying out new layouts for the site. I had in mind exactly what I wanted, but none of the layout options could quite deliver – and I’m not yet HTML savvy enough to make them work for me. I must have tried on a dozen different themes – buggering up my old one in the process – before spending the last twenty minutes trying to get it back to what it looked like before.
I had good intentions. I originally redesigned this site to make it more a portfolio – and I’m glad I did that – but now I’d like it to be a destination, too. I want it to encourage me to post a couple of times a week, and to give you guys a good incentive to come back that regularly as well. A static landing page doesn’t exactly do that. But you know what does? POSTING.
Instead of faffing around over widgets and custom headers, I could have been writing. Better yet, I could have been outside, in London – doing, and then writing. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the little things, we make them great big obstacles when they’re not. What the blog looks like is almost besides the point if I’m not enjoying writing it and nobody’s reading it; eating baked fish (again) and having fun with my boyfriend is 100 times better than rocking up stressed, late, and trying to cook something stupidly ambitious for the sake of it; and which particular movie I pick is far less important than how much it makes me laugh/cry/learn/cringe/lose myself for a couple of hours to unwind before another day.
So, some free advice, if only I’d take it myself: don’t sweat the small stuff.
Earlier this year, I started tackling some of the recurring stresses in my day to day life, and the impact overall has made such a positive difference. I no longer take late trains back to London after a weekend at home, realising it’s so much nicer to arrive mid-afternoon and have time to catch up before the week begins; I’ve given up religiously meal planning, because it never plays out like you think, and instead just have a few weeks worth of shopping lists and meal ideas on rotation; and, even now, you know, I’m posting, knowing it’s not perfect, but realising it doesn’t have to be – much of the pressure I feel is only that I put on myself, which is always going to seem like a losing battle. So I call a truce, for now.
If you need me, I’ll be watching 27 dresses.