The Christmas diary of an instagram-less, newly single and slightly burnt out me

The trajectory of the next 2 weeks has changed, a lot. I’m a little anxious to see what life without work (and now, a boyfriend) holds. What will I do? How will I feel? Who will I report back to and stay connected to? We’ll see, won’t we.

Day 1

Got a bit tipsy by myself last night. Not sure if I feel empowered or ashamed by that. I just deleted Instagram. Slightly shocked by how much I feel it’s absence already. My fingers are on autopilot and immediately navigate to where the app used to be. Going to use this as my outlet for the next week. Earlier, I saw someone (across the street) who I used to be friends with. Without Insta, how am I meant to message my similarly old friend whose number I no longer have to tell them that he’s a bit cute now?? First world problem right there. 10:56pm - on the train home after dinner with w/a new friend. Realising that being single has its own glory. Sent the risky ‘quite like you, thanks for a lovely eve’ text and thank the lord it was reciprocated. If new friends are THIS hard to navigate what is dating going to be like?

Day 2

Reflections so far:

  • Not being in a relationship has really stripped down my festive schedule… I’m currently cherishing the empty calendar but not sure I’ll feel the same in 5 days time

  • I miss the mini affirmation of Instagram notifications and a finished to-do list

  • A lot of my personal life ‘to-do’s’ have been ignored in December... I’m feeling the need to sort it out before getting properly relaxed

Tomorrow’s agenda:

  • Clean the 2 weeks worth of Mcdonalds wrappers, clothes & forgotten water bottles out of my car

  • Go through my underwear and throw out all the crap pairs I don’t wear / don’t fit / have holes in them

  • Collate all the bits and bobs within my various handbags, throwing out crumbs in the process

  • Ensure a suitably comfy and waistband-less outfit is ready for Christmas Day

  • Question life

Day 3

2:46am - must remember to tell Instagram about the apple trick for auto ending a podcast / album when falling asleep. I submitted my last piece of work of 2018 at 3am last night. So here it is, 7 days of nothing. I’m sitting on the sofa next to my dog, completing a Sodoku and watching a film. Living in blissful ignorance of what others are up to and how that should make me feel. Trying not to acknowledge just how full on (and significant) January will be. Happy Christmas Eve to me. I’ve been writing these daily thoughts in my notes app as a form of private self therapy / a place to share. But maybe I’ll post them. A podcast episode seems a bit narcissistic. Perhaps a blog post. We’ll see.

Day 4

Well hello Christmas Day. I keep confusing the birth of JC with New Years and thinking it’s now 2019. Funny. I’ve downloaded, scrolled through & deleted Instagram twice today. Bit tragic isn’t it. Going on it was a bad idea. How can one app immediately make me question whether my Christmas is ‘good enough’ or if my friends really care about me? I know this says more about my mindset than it does about what others are sharing. But it’s reminded me why I’m so conscious of the impact my content (can) have.

11:25pm - crying. Been a lovely day up until now. Feeling a bit alone. Realising how much has changed. ‘Big’ days (Christmas, birthdays etc) often feature a moment of tears. Most likely due to the unobtainable expectation put around it and the sudden urge to look within.

Day 5

I’d like for life without work // a boy // the everyday to feel a little less lonely and sad than this. I usually love my own company. But right now, any moment without a task or activity is bringing with it a blanket of isolation and hopelessness. Not to sound dramatic. Lol.I know it’s a cliche, but I think I need to learn how to love myself and just ‘be’ without the distraction of people, work or a routine. Don’t get me wrong, the last 4 days have featured glorious moments of joy and lightness. And I’m oh so grateful for this rest. But taking a break means that the blinkers are gone and I’m met with the reality of how I feel / what my life looks like. Sitting down tomorrow to reflect on this year and set intentions for 2019. Cliche I know, but the clarity and assurance gained is invaluable to me.

Day 6

It’s 2:18pm and I’ve only just left my bed. Glorious morning of reading whilst my brothers brought me a breakfast of marmite toast and a selection of mini pies for lunch. These are the odd days between Christmas and NYE. Something I’ve never really experienced before as ‘proper time off’ just hasn’t been a reality. I’ve done a face, eye and hair mask, moisturised from head to toe and done some teeth whitening. My generic self care box is well and truly ticked.I was slightly worried that ‘stopping’ would feel foreign but let me tell you, I’ve adjusted to my new lifestyle like a dolphin to water. I sleep until 10, read and/or watch Netflix for 7 hours and wander around the house whilst eating various leftovers dipped in hummus. Oh and if you’re wondering, todays to-do list of reflection and planning has well and truly gone out of the window. Let’s try again tomorrow ‘ey.

Day 7

Todays thoughts:

  • Other peoples’ exciting looking lives are bothering me more than they ever have - what role have I played in creating comparison for others?

  • Work is oh so tempting. But I know it’ll be a downward slope and once I start I won’t be able to stop

  • I’ve received more notifications from Amazon than I have from friends in the last 3 days. I realise they’re all busy / away / bored of my sadness, but it still stings a bit to feel so alone.

  • ^ Must ensure that once I’m back to work and my head is full, I make space / time for those who matter most to me. Work is great, love is great, but people are the constant

Just written down my intentions for 2019. I would tell you here, but they’re being shared on the podcast this week *promo promo* so you can listen there. Spoiler alert: whilst I’m definitely not a ‘new year new me’ gal, I am most definitely about living intentionally and giving myself as many fresh starts as I need. I need one right now, that’s for sure.

10:53pm - level of sanity reached = currently stamping my name (yes I have a rubber stamp of my name, surprisingly useful) into every book I own. Quite cathartic actually.

Days 8-10

January 1st, 1:24pm.

Well happy 2019 to us / me / you.

2018 was FULL. Full of all the things I love (travel, people, work, food) and also full of some more tricky things. Things which make the ‘fresh start’ feeling of a new year incredibly welcome.I’m an hour away from posting online again. Sounds dramatic but I feel a bit apprehensive about it. Posting on Instagram feels like the first step in dipping my toe into work, a slippery slope I know too well. I love my work. But the next few weeks are pretty significant. January features a full calendar and the ticket launch of Gather & Grow… the outcome of which will define my 2019 considerably. I’m sure in a few days, when I’m a little less hungover (hello NYE party) and beginning to actually do some work, I’ll feel ready to come at 2019 with all the hard work, enthusiasm and weird Insta stories I can muster.

So here we are…

10 days on. A lot of books read. Some lows. Some highs. And a slightly vulnerable blog post.If your Christmas was anything like mine, I hope you feel a bit less alone in your low-key plans and un-instagram-worthy moments.

Here’s to 2019.

Blog, Real LifeAlice Benham