From mid July until October 3rd my life revolved around two things: my first 'grown up' (read: real) job and my 20,000 word dissertation. I look back at those past couple of months and quite frankly I barely remember them. All that I can remember is this constant and inbuilt panic I seemed to be feeling. I would get home from work at half 5, relax for half an hour and would then write my dissertation. Sometimes I wouldn't even bother having dinner because it took up too much time. I barely had a social life. I did my best to see some friends and I might have had quite a big night out that involved lots of gin, but basically my life was dedicated to work and my dissertation.
Now that that awful chapter is behind me I'm suddenly left with having free time. It's almost an alien concept to me. I've been in education non stop since I started school, no gap year for me. After my undergraduate I went straight onto my masters. Now I am just like any normal person, I get up go to work and come home. There are endless options of things to do and it feels strange to be in a position where I don't feel like my heart is tensing up with stress. It's almost a comedown because after all the stress and tears of the past few months everything else is plain sailing.
Right after I took my dissertation to the printers I just sat in Bute Park with a celebratory slice of Victoria Sponge and cup of Earl Grey, enjoying the peace and feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was also feeling very proud that I'd survived it all and got through it by myself and with the support of my friends. I have no family whatsoever here so my friends were my rock and cheered me on through it all.
During my dissertation I didn't have the will or the energy to focus on any text that wasn't related to my research. Since handing it in, I've been able to actually enjoy reading for fun again and rediscovering some old favourites. It's amazing this 'free time' business.
I've also been enjoying the freedom of back to back Netflix episodes and not feeling the least bit guilty about watching 240 minutes of Cillian Murphy (YES PLEASE). I've also noticed that the American Netflix has ALL the seasons of One Tree Hill available. I know what I'll be doing this weekend.
I'm so happy that I'm no longer a social recluse and that I can explore Cardiff all over again. It seems like these past few months whilst I was stress crying over interview transcripts and methodology, lots of new shops opened up that I had never seen before. Last weekend I finally popped into Home By Kirsty, which is basically how I want my house to look. I also dragged some friends to check out Science Cream which I think was worth the wait. Making ice cream with nitrogen is probably a bit of a gimmick and a bit trendy but it was very tasty and quite the novelty.
I'm really enjoying this new found freedom and my little routines that I'm building for myself. Post work is dedicated to yoga, cooking, a bit of Netflix and reading books. Friday is for after work socialising with my colleagues and weekends are always spent with the best company and great food. I'm so pleased with the way my life is going now, I feel very in control and content with it all. Doing all the hard work over the summer has paid off and being able to live my life the way I want is the reward for it all. Happy happy happy.