Finding balance- can you have it all?

For a while, I wrote about what it was like to be a single pringle millennial living in Auckland. That was actually the whole point of this blog. Aside from a hobby to distract me from the fact that I was, in fact, a single pringle. Which actually wasn’t that bad. I experimented with Bumble, Tinder, online dating and even a bit of face to face interaction, mostly in bars. I discovered the weird and wonderful pick up lines that men use and decided that I’d rather be single than succumb to the compliment of being called a ‘cutecumber’.

I met my boyfriend, oddly enough, at my house. He literally turned up one day, to see my flatmate and watch the rugby. He ate a pie and left the crumbs in a trail across the living room, much like a modern day Hansel and Gretel. I discovered his charm and never-ending stories as we bonded over a mostly cooked risotto and the rest is history. So, begged the question – what do I blog about now?

In the months since we’ve been dating, my life has become incredibly different, as I discovered how time consuming having a boyfriend was when you lived 5 minutes from each other and didn’t have an assignment to finish or a lecture to be at (as were the hallmarks of my previous relationships). I’ll admit, myself, like many others in a new relationship, succumb to its charm and interest and lost myself, my hobbies and above all: my balance. I’d become the girl that I promised myself I never would be and spent all my spare time doing cute couple things like getting brunch, going for walks along the beach and watching our ‘couple show’ on Netflix.

This isn’t the first blog post I’ve written about balance – I recall being a student and reminding myself not to stay up all night finishing an assignment, ensuring that I exercised, saw my friends and made time to do all the stupid things that young people at university did. When I reflected on this/got some prompting from my friends, I realised that I was forgetting to do the things that made me different because I was now investing so much time in a new relationship. And, as most of my blog posts revolve around, or include lists, I thought I would write some tips for other aspiring relationship igniters/those who perhaps need to realign their priorities a bit to ensure that you don’t tip the scales too far in one particular direction. Here we go;

  1. Number one priority – always make time for you. And this is a fun Dr Seuss style quote to remember ‘in order to be a good ‘we’, you must first take care of ‘me” – I’m not sure how good this is, but rhyme is proven to aid memory so eh. Set one night, afternoon, or whatever you need aside a week to ensure you take the time to do the things that you enjoy. For me, this is reading, writing and oddly, cleaning. Taking care of yourself will ensure you don’t come to resent the other person for dominating your spare time.
  2. Don’t forget your friends. We all know that guy/girl who gets a partner and suddenly disappears off the face off the planet. I’m ashamed to say that this, in part, was me. My friends fortunately/unfortunately are also very busy, so it was easy to not make plans because I knew they’d be busy. Don’t make this mistake – it’s better to reach out and be rebuffed than not try at all. Show them you care and make the time to do the walk/coffee/brunch that really is just a stroll to the cafe for the full breakfast (with extra hashbrowns).
  3. We’ve done friends, next comes family. You don’t have to introduce your new partner to your parents in the first week – the integration will eventually come – but you do have to keep spending time with your family (if you do spend time with family like I do) one on one. It’s just as upsetting for your parents to feel as though they’ve lost a child when they never see you and you never reply to their email chains about cute puppies they saw online (or is this just my family?) as it is to your friends. My advice here is my advice with pretty much everything else in life – schedule it in.
  4. Don’t become Nigel No-Hobbies. I’m sure you all had something that absorbed your time before your significant other entered your life – don’t give these up! You don’t have to drag your boyfriend/girlfriend to crochet class with you – it’s important you both can do your own thing (see point 1). I also suggest investing in a good couple hobby (no Netflix does not count). I dragged my boyfriend along to the gym with me and although we both do different workouts, we’re both spending time doing something we enjoy.

I’m blatantly aware this blog post is rather long and that the attention span of a millennial is akin to that of a goldfish, so I think I’ll wrap this one up here and save the rest of my ‘helpful relationship tips’ for future blogs. Just remember – your partner was attracted to you because of the person you were before you became ‘we’; take the time to nourish yourself and remember: ‘me before we’. You’re welcome.

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#sejtips – living the single life

Aside from my pretty serious commitment to the gym, I’ve now been single for a pretty much record amount of time. Proud of me. I’ve decided to write this most as a celebration of being able to be alone; in a happy relationship with me, myself and I (and my dog.) I have quite a few friends in relationships, or who are married to work/study so I’ve become pretty good at masturdating (thanks for this beautiful neologism Katie) and third wheeling. Enjoy the singledom and remember that not that long ago (back when a common cold was a death sentence), you would be married with children by now, or be written off as a crazy spinster (I’ll take the spinster option with six cats please).

Because lists are nice and a convenient way of writing, here is a collection, in list form, of my favourite tips for living the single high life and mingling like a true single pringle.

  • Get some rad hobbies. Being single is way easier when you’re doing something to occupy your time. You’ll stop noticing all the cute couple photos on your Facebook feed and reaching for a bottle of wine every time someone from your year group gets married/has a baby. Some serious #sejtips for great hobbies (watch out, it’s a list within a list #crazy #listception):
    • Crochet (not good if you’re sad about being single – those needles are sharp)
    • Colouring in  – super versatile and therapeutic, 10/10
    • Cooking/baking – make sure you post this on your Instagram with #wife/husband me
    • Roller blading – yes it’s a thing for those among us who are blessed with coordination
    • Take up salsa dancing – also great if you’re low key trying to meet a gorgeous Spaniard (dreams are free: mostly it’s middle aged men and their wives at salsa)
  • Right, enough hobbies. The next great tip for living up your single life is to get comfortable eating on your own. This was a particular challenge for me as I always felt like Nigel no mates when I went to a cafe and ordered for one. There’s a lot of articles on how great it is to go out on your own (masturdating) and I recommend everyone (single or not) trying it out at least once. Start small. Go for a coffee and read the paper; you’ll look sophisticated and intelligent, or maybe take a notebook and write introspective thoughts (my shopping list for later). Just leave the colouring book at home.
  • Go out and talk to people! Probably not the greatest advice if you’re an introvert petrified at the thought of talking to people, but luckily I’m super confident, so this isn’t an issue for me. Find your confident friend and get them to wingman/woman you out on the town. Depending on your preference, you may want to start in a safe social space – go to meetup.com and find an interesting group to join. Now is a great time to start learning Japanese (remember the hobbies?). If you’re more adventurous, like myself, just get yourself along to your local bar (I recommend Grey Goose or Long Room) and stare at someone until they talk to you – this tried and true method works every time.
  • Don’t be afraid to 3rd wheel it. A tricycle is way more stable than a bike – which is why we give them to toddlers. Find your favourite couple and start inviting yourself on their dates. Make sure they’re a nice friendly couple who won’t canoodle in the corner whilst you’re carrying the karoake squad. Even better when you have more than one fave couple that you can rotate. Enjoy the break from solitaire and get right into competitive game of Go Fish/whatever normal couples do these days.
  • Master the art of treating yourself. Because, you’re worth it. Don’t let being single be an obstacle to getting flowers ‘just cause’. Buy that extra pair of shoes, send yourself cupcakes: treat yo’self – you deserve it. I’ve become a pro at taking romantic candlelit baths with myself and an audiobook (Harry Potter is the only man I need in my life). Don’t forget to look in the mirror and tell yourself how great you are – who else is gonna do it?

I could probably write more about how great it is to rid yourself of the shackles of the mandatory date night, but I don’t want to alienate those who are happily sailing the river on their relation ship (#punny). So, my single ladies and lads – don’t think of single as a prison sentence condemning you to staying home and writing blog posts watching an entire season of Riverdale, see it for the exciting opportunity that it is! If that’s not quite doing it for you, then I suggest half a dozen cats – they’ll keep you busy.