In many ways, I tend to be a perfectionist. I like it when things have some order and whenever possible, I prefer to stick to this order. I see no reason why my T-shirts should not be perfectly folded, my underwear should not be sorted by color, my dropbox work-related folder not free of extra material. So having this minor OCD, I like to fundamentally clean my closet every now and then. I usually keep it rather neat but every now and then I am overwhelmed by the need to sort my possessions out and get rid of everything I do not wear. Here is where women start to hate me- I have not really gained much weight for the past 10 years, and with the exception of one summer that I spent in the US, I have maintained the exact same weight that I had since I was in high school. This means my choice of what to get rid of is not eased by clothes I no longer fit in. And every time I try sorting, I realize I do have more clothes than I need. I do not buy expensive clothes, I stick to average-quality, low-price brands. When I was a student and had a rather limited budget and stressful studies, more than anything I enjoyed some spontaneous and successful shopping spree. And I was rather good at spotting real treasures among items on sale. This means I have gathered substantial amount of garments I do not make much use of.
Starting with my clothes, I realized I tend to extrapolate this to other aspects of my life. I tend to stick to some rules and habits that I should shake off but never bothered to, I tend to keep in my life people who have disappointed me and just with their presence suck the energy out of me, or remind me of how much they let me down. Solving the issue with clothes is easy- you can give some to friends and family, donate them to charity. That always makes me feel good because it feeds my OCD and gives me a minor feeling of having done something good for others. Figuring out the rest is not always that simple and easy, though. First of all, it takes a lot of self-discipline and the ability to have a distance from yourself, to judge yourself objectively in order to spot what type of behavior is harming you. It could be smoking, binge-eating on cookies in the evenings, staying up late not doing much and then hating the whole world the next morning, etc. Everyone has their own demons and their own unique capabilities to fight them.
I have recently made some changes in my life and hopefully, will see good results in the near future. First of all, I decided for a while not to spend any money on clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, and all other accessories. Instead, I’d rather invest this money in books, some online courses, trips, or simply save it. It’s so great that we live in a world where you can just come back from work in the evening and watch videos from a course in forensic science, given by a British professor at the University of Singapore, for example. Or just with one click, you get the book you were looking for delivered on your e-reader. And I don’t think I need to point the benefits of traveling to anyone.
I am also a person who likes a little challenge every now and then. To think of it, I started my PhD with the mindset of coping with another challenge (and challenging it is, but that’s another question :P). So, I recently decided to sign up for the Amsterdam marathon, which is around 5 months from now. I’ve been running for pleasure for maybe 10 years, never taking it too seriously. I was just running because it always helped me to shake off the stress of daily life and kept me in shape. I have completed a few 10 mile (16K) crosses, subsequently improving my own time, and also a half-marathon last year. So, I figured “When if not now?”. And I signed up. A part of the process of preparation would be not only the extensive long-runs, but also the food and drinks you take. So, a few days ago I gave up drinking. Before the half-marathon i did not drink for 2 months again but now I am looking at a longer period. Plus, the summer is just around the corner. And not being able to sip some beer to cool off the heat, or some wine as you are enjoying the summer evening breeze pains me just thinking about it. But, ultimately, if you are going to do something, do it right!
Lastly, there comes a point in your life when you should learn to let go of people. People who don’t seem too eager to keep you in their lives, people who don’t seem to realize they are wrapped up in their own (imaginary) problems (whereas, I believe, friendship is a two-way street), or simply people who were a big part f your life in certain period but then the circumstances no longer bring you together. It is important to realize that the latter category are not the friends of a lifetime and not to confuse the two. Sometimes such people would come wrapped in the enthusiasm and novelty of a new step or a period of your life, but once the events that were forcing you together are in the past, so is the friendship. And that’s OK. Just be grateful for such people and let them go. This cool, little red dress I bought four years ago might still fit me, but it does not mean I should leave the house wearing it. But it doesn’t mean I don’t have good memories of times I spent wearing it.