The last week or so has been something of a whirlwind as the fiancé and I came back for a wedding and decided we would stop in the UK for the following week and visit as many people as humanly possible.
In 11 days we clocked up around 1500 miles between us, which is about 4 times the length of England, as we traversed the South East, Midlands and North. We managed to visit both sets of parents, my grandma, Tom’s grandparents, my aunt and nine separate meetings with friends.
This logistical feat of pulling off the who, how, where and when of maximising UK friend and family absorbing time has caused me to finally accept that I am good at this sort of thing. So in acknowledgement of my true self I’d like to say ‘my name is Briony and I’m an organiser!’
Despite the fact I have been in a number of jobs where organisational skills are an absolute must I never really think of myself as being an organised person, because I have always felt I could be better at this. But this doesn’t really make sense. It’s like me saying I’m not a runner because even though I regularly run 5k a couple of times a week (brag brag) I could be better at this. So yes, I could be a better runner and I could be better organised but this doesn’t stop me from already being both of these things.
An essential requirement of being disorganisedly-challenged (desperately trying not to keep repeating ‘organised’) is the ability to plan ahead. The amount of people we managed to fit in on a relatively brief visit was a result of my spreading out the charts and forming a touring battle-plan, if you will, carefully scheduled to within an inch of the agenda’s life.
Had I left the UK trip to the fiancé we’d have gone to the wedding and then just pootled about in London for the rest of the week and seen a couple of people. Granted, this might have been a relaxing alternative but, having been an expat abroad for almost 6 months now, would have seemed a wasted opportunity.
My methodical and systematic approach to work, holidays and so on definitely has its place but I know that I’m capable of this sort of thing because it comes naturally to me, which means I can’t really turn it off. And always going about my life in an orderly and controlled manner isn’t necessarily a good thing. For one thing, it sounds pretty dull. Nobody wants to be described as ‘organised’, even if it does get you jobs and has practical purposes. For another, I’m also pretty rubbish at spontaneity and just doing things on the spur of the moment.
However, the most debilitating aspect of being Queen of the Planning is that I find it almost impossible to live in the moment and actually just take stock of where I’m at without constantly question where I’m going.
On a day to day scale I can do this to some extent, I can enjoy a nice leisurely walk and stop to take in the view and think how great it is to be in the here and now. But I can probably only manage this for an hour or two at best before the brain starts going into overdrive with thoughts of ‘what’s next?’
I’ll eat lunch and even as I’m eating it I’m already thinking about what’s for dinner. If I’m having an evening out with friends I’m perfectly capable of enjoying myself, and it’s not that I’m wishing the night were over its just that I’ll probably also be thinking about what time I’ll be home and what I have to do the next day.
On a small scale the over-planning’s not so bad, on a bigger scale it’s exhausting. Moving to Geneva happened fairly quickly and there was a lot to sort both before I went and then after I arrived. This preoccupation worked pretty well at distracting me but now I’m more settled here I can’t stop contemplating the future.
Should I start studying again? Where do I see myself going within the new job? Will we come back to the UK in a couple of years and if not, do we stay here or go somewhere else? Should I have a career figured out by now or at least have all required training out the way before thinking about children? And on and on it goes. I don’t know how to just sit back and think well Geneva is nice and leave it at that.
When I was working full time in the UK and also studying part-time and trying to see friends and family and sometimes taking on voluntary work it was pretty manic. I often look back and think how the hell did I manage that? So now I’m kind of enjoying a more relaxed pace of life, and think my hair is greying at a slower rate, but I’m also kind of hankering after those activities that serve so well as distractions. Always working towards things in the future means you don’t really need to think about what your place in the world is now and what the point of it all is.
I clearly need a new project.
We had a great time back in the UK and loved every minute catching up with those we got to see, although still missed a fair few off the list, but the whole thing was a little hectic. To ensure we get round everyone at a slighlty more leisurely pace I’ll have to plan a number of trips over the course of next year. I hope it will be enough of a diversion for now.