February is over and I’ve taken a stock of my accomplishments Adulting-wise.
Delightful living conditions
This month saw me put some final touches on the flat. I finally got up some pictures in frames in my room, threw up some “art” in the living room and stuck a NYC metro map into the WC to go with the 2012 map of Antartica (don’t ask). I want to sort out a few cupboards in the hall and the kitchen, and get a few of the other blank spaces filled artwise, but it’s been okay so far.
On reflection, I did quite well here. I’m making a point of trying to reply to messages within 48 hours and emails within a week. Sometimes that is harder than it should be, but I’m working on it. I’m also trying to note important things happening with other people and making a conscious effort to check in about them – it’s not much but it helps to connect.
Additionally, I had some annual leave from last year to take and usually I would take those days to lounge around or go to a museum, this time I used them to go and visit my friend Jude who had a baby, to pick up my flatmate from a hospital appointment, and to visit my friend Capon for a long weekend and spend time playing the “sleeping game” with her gorgeous children.
Thehairpin has been a bit shaky over the last few years, but back in the day, it was a great (American-based) website and, when I noticed that most of my friends had left London or got married, it was how I found some new ones. There were Hairpin-Meetups for readers in London and I went to a couple. They were hilarious and I asked a few girls on a friend date. That is more nerve-wracking than hitting on a guy, let me tell you. Anyway, I now have two great friends from there and we watch a movie every month or so with pizza and fizz and generally bash the patriarchy. It’s great. February was my turn to host.
Granted, pizza and fizz aren’t terribly difficult, but I did need to angle the TV, make sure the DVD player was set up, get the heating right, make sure there were glasses and snacks. I think I did okay. I may have been overly effusive about the kale chips, not really had a place to hang up the coats or really properly relaxed, but I did send a good map so no one would get lost and I had sofa blankets. I’m calling it a win.
Confident in the kitchen
Supermarket magazines and newspapers are a weakness of mine. The Waitrose weekly newspaper in particular. I feel a bit irked if I miss it or if the stand is by the manned checkouts, rather than the self-service checkouts. I’m on the hunt for new recipes that aren’t remotely challenging and there are always some interesting ones in there.
The recipe I went with claimed to be a soup, but really was a glorified tomato sauce based stew. I’ve noticed that I have an aversion to recipes which require a blender. There is a blender in the flat, I just don’t want to use it. Same for recipes that require a food processor. Even when I had one, I didn’t want to use it. Can’t explain because it’s ridiculous.
This recipe called for passata, lentils, vegetable stock (I went Knorr cube) and various vegetables. No blending. Being my mother’s daughter I played fast and loose with the quantities and had enough for a week, rather than four servings, but it was delicious. A+, would make again.
February saw me go on a Match date with Matt and not get murdered (see previous post). It also saw me despondent and in desperate need for entertainment. In that respect, I joined Tinder and went on a few Tinder dates. This will get its own post. I do not have a husband yet.
I have travel phobia. I’ve had it for years. I’ve Talked To Somone about it (who, frankly wasn’t much help because mine is a weird “strain” and he couldn’t quite get to grips with it. It is bizarre. I am not a good traveller. Not because I am afraid of flying or being on trains or thinking I’m going to die. None of that. That would make sense. That would be easier to fix. No, I have a fear of missing the plane, not being able to get through the people on the train to get off, of the bus not stopping at my stop even if I ding the bell, the coach taking a different route. Worst case scenario, I get the next one or get off at the next one. I know that. It doesn’t help. I am always at the station, stop or airport early. Always. I am the person at the airport two hours before. I can *easily* handle being bored for two hours. If I’m with someone else, I’m not bothered. Even though everything could still happen.
This on top of “general fear of parties and groups of people” gets in the way of my “going and doing things” but I am trying really hard. This month, I went to Oxford, on a coach, on my own to see a comedy gig written by some friends of mine. Other than my friends, who would be behind the microphones and not have much time to talk to me, I wouldn’t know many/any people there, Oxford always makes me feel mildly uneasy, plus I didn’t know if the tube would be running when I got back on the coach (the tube is fine. It has to stop everywhere and it can’t go the wrong way. Although I know both of these statements to be false, that’s how my brain works). But I went anyway! I went on the coach (fretting about paying with cash or card), found the pub (I’d been before) and found someone I knew (and stuck to them like *glue*). I also had minimal interactions with someone I was trying to avoid, left when it suited me, got back to London in good time and did not have to take the night bus. This was a fabulous result.
Meeting new people and going to new places also covered Tinder dates. More later.
The other thing I have been doing is walking different routes to work. I would happily walk the same way forever, but I’m making myself take different streets. Sometimes looking at the handy maps along the way and sometimes not. Okay, I nearly ended up in a school yesterday, but, on the whole, it has been fine. I found a new park behind Burberry, a fancy coloured glass roof on the Home Office, some Victorian public baths, a shop for bishops to buy their mitres, two different Sainsburys! It’s not strikingly brave, I grant you, but it’s given me slightly more confidence in my navigation skills and certainly added to my Instagram feed.
Healthy Mind & Body
In February I made a dentist appointment. Full disclosure: I am terrified of the dentist. I had terrible teeth as a child, had eleven fillings before I was seven and had a tooth pulled when I was tiny. I also had a terrible no good old scary dentist take out that tooth. SO MUCH FEAR. At about age 6, we got a new dentist, who was lovely and who I inevitably had a crush on. He was so good with me that, when I came to England for university, I would go home for checkups. As a grown adult in London, I didn’t join a dentist, but I also didn’t go when I was home because there wasn’t time.
It may have been a decade since I had a checkup. Every year I said I would sort it out. Every year, I didn’t. Nothing hurt and I took care of my teeth. This year, I had enough. I made an appointment with Fee’s dentist in Wimbledon. The dentists are all lovely Irish women and it’s modern and lovely. I was still terrified.
Long story short, I went for a checkup, was sufficiently terrified, was told I wasn’t in bad shape for such a lapse of attention, but I do need a bit of work and a good old clean. I have made those appointments. I got some free toothpastes.
In addition to the tooth move, I am also making a point to eat more fruit and vegetables (more vegetables really. Fruits aren’t great for your teeth! Very sugary! I’ve taken to sneaking fruit into my breakfast like a child and having at least two vegetables with dinner. It’s not rocket science, it just takes planning and thinking.
Also, I’m making a much bigger effort to walk in the morning before work. It’s good exercise and is better for my head to have a break between BED and WORK.
Art and culture
I DID ALL THE CULTURE IN FEBRUARY!
As a diehard fan of Matthew Perry’s, I went to see his new play “The End of Longing” in the first week. I loved it. My seat was a million miles from the stage, but the set design was great, the characters were wonderfully developed and the story was both raw and hilarious. At one point, my entire row was in tears, then burst out laughing, then in tears again, all in the space of ten lines.
I had a free afternoon and took a turn around the Tate Modern. It’s hands down my favourite art gallery and I could roam around there for hours. I also had an egg sandwich.
After the Celtic Exhibition at the British Museum, it struck me that I hadn’t actually gone to the museum proper, so suggested this to an old school friend. We eagerly found a café to catch up in (I had a great little Italian custard tart) and then headed over to catch the Elgin Marbles before Amal Clooney helps Greece resume ownership. We also checked out the Egyptian rooms, which I found unexpectedly ghoulish. The mummies are real corpses of real people and they are now gawked at by millions of people taking selfies. I found the whole exhibit wildly disrespectful. We, Britain, stole artefacts from all over the globe because The Empire and had very little thought of the cultures we plundered.
In less ghastly experiences, I joined Wimbledon library and went to bookclub!
This month I took the bull by the horns and spoke to my bank. My flatmate and I would like a household account dedicated to the flat and it seems her bank, Barclays, won’t let her do that. Halifax are much more accommodating. I now have a current account just for the flat, which I can access and keep everything organised. So far, we have yet to move everything over from the other account where everything is hooked up, but I have done my bit!
I don’t think of myself as a terrible social person, mainly because I tend to see people one on one. That does mean that I have a very full calendar. If I don’t make an effort to have a few days to myself every now and again, I will get mildly burnt out with exhaustion and social overload. This month I have made a point of having a few early nights with candles, cosy pajamas, dinner in bed in a bowl and season 1 of Alias. I have watched this show a thousand times and, while the themes and plots are a bit dark, it is remarkably comforting.
Also, it’s Lent and I have made a Lenten pledge to get on my knees for an old-school prayer before bed and to run through “what I have been grateful for today.” It hasn’t necessarily made me more relaxed, but it has made me more appreciative and mindful.
No, but I have *given* career advice, which is hilarious.
Still no. But I have intentions!