Saturday, 14 June 2014

On getting my shit together

I'm not a particularly organised person.

I know this is a trait I make many, many references to on a daily basis, but I think many people are yet to realise how truly useless at life I am. Seriously. Just now, I spilled half a bottle of beer over myself and my bed when settling down to write this post. Then, in my panic, my bandana somehow slipped down over my glasses and I ended up stumbling around the room, visionless, trying in vain to remove the bastard thing. Oli just said that living with me is like watching live-action comedy. At least my accidental slapstick revues are making someone happy.

This kind of bumbling idiocy also applies to my time management skillz. Don't get me wrong, when I'm at work I'm totally fine. It's when I'm at home, trying to find enough hours in the day to squeeze in all of the things I have or want to do that it all begins to go pear-shaped.

I promised myself that when I moved to Berlin things would be different, so in an attempt to organise my time more effectively I've downloaded the Wunderlist app. It's perfect for the kind of person who, like me, finds their productivity stalling because of their inability to organise their time effectively. These are a few of the categories that will be appearing regularly as part of my ongoing efforts to become a less ridiculous human being.


This is my biggest priority. I love to write, so much so that I've written for free for the past 10 years, taken a degree in journalism and authored more blog posts than I can count. So why is it so regularly pushed to the bottom of my priorities list? The problem is that when I write, I want it to be perfect. I don't want to publish something that I'm not completely happy with, and often my annoying brainbox tells me that even if I work for hours on a piece, it still won't be anywhere near as good as I'd like it to be. So I give up. Also, time constraints are a massive problem. Between work, cooking din-dins, seeing my friends and dealing with all the other time-eaters that take up everyday life I often can't find enough space to squeeze writing in. Ideally I'd love to write as a career, and to a certain extent I already do. But I'd like to go freelance, and that's a luxury career choice that just isn't available to me at the moment. So for now I need to focus on freeing up enough time and energy to keep writing regularly, and stop beating myself up if it's less than perfecto.

#2. Get fit or die tryin'

I will never, ever be one of those people who emerges from a gym, kale juice (is that a thing?) in hand and smug grin on face. In fact, I'm more likely to decide to slowly gnaw my own arm off whilst listening to Billy Ray Cyrus' Greatest Hits than I am to step onto a cross-trainer. The thing is, the gym bores me silly. So does running, and planking, and any kind of activity that requires a gym jacket.

My soul is dying (
My eating isn't so bad. Being vegetarian encourages me to get creative in the kitchen, and aside from the excessive beer consumption and more visits to Pizza Dach than I'd like to mention, it's all pretty healthy. So really, it's just the exercise I need to work on. I used to train full-time as a dancer and loved attending eight hours of ballet, contemporary and jazz classes a day, and since discovering my inner hula hooper at NoFit I've added a new dimension to my dancey-lust. Obviously I'm going to have to work pretty hard to get back into shape (five years is a long time to go without doing the splits) but it's nothing that daily Youtube videos and a couple of ballet classes a week won't fix. Oli also bought us some freakishly cheap badminton racquets, so we can go and embarrass ourselves in Volkspark put in some valuable cardio-time whenever we choose. This fitness lark can't be too hard, right? RIGHT?? Oh God. I'm tired just thinking about it. Somebody carry me to the nearest kebab joint.

#3. Deutsch Lernen

When I first came to Berlin two months ago, I was full of the wide-eyed optimism of the fledgling ex-pat. "Of course I'll learn German!" I cried enthusiastically. "In fact, I watched a video the other day about a man who learnt Mandarin in six months. German isn't made up of indecipherable pictograms. This will be a breeze!"

How. Wrong. I. Was.

The main hurdle to learning German in Berlin is not the language itself. No way. So many of the words are very close to English, so it's pretty easy to get to grips with (the grammar's a bitch, but that's another story). It's the perfect storm of factors that makes it so difficult. It's the relentless social whirl that never seems to stop, leaving you with a perpetual sense of FOMO and a reluctance to stay in and study. It's the fact that as soon as someone under 35 hears you talk, they immediately switch to English. It's the fact that no matter how hard I stare at a Lagune language book, the grammar still makes NO FUCKING SENSE AT ALL TO ME. But most of all, it's the fact that it's all too easy to make excuses like the ones above, instead of sitting down and just getting the hell on with it.
I've put an advert on the Tandem Language Learning website, so at least I can combine social outings with hardcore Deutsch-lernen. Let's see how this goes.

#4. Resume craftiness

I've always loved a bit of crafting, me. Whether it was making clothes with me mam in the summer sun last year, painting atrocious pictures for Oli's birthday or even just putting together little collages of photos and mementos, getting my craft on invariably makes me feel that little bit happier. That's why it's such a ballache that these days I rarely find time to indulge in a bit of arty-fartiness. It also doesn't help that living on an interns wage makes me feel horribly guilty for buying the materials I need. This needs to stop. I've just discovered the Turkischmarkt in Kreuzberg, and with their abundance of super-cheap fabrics, canvases and ribbons there is no excuse for me to put it off any longer. I could make like my friend Sian and take up cross stitch. I could pick up my knitting needles again. I could buy a sketchbook and keep a rudimentary art journal - something I've wanted to do for a long time. What I should not do is sit here whining about my lack of creative outlets, and put a little bit of money and time towards doing something I love.

#5. Become a camera-touting tourist

You've probably noticed that the quality of my blog-snaps is somewhat sub-par. This is because I am way too forgetful to bring both my phone and my camera out at the same time, so I tend to make do with my newly-acquired smartphone. I'd like to change this. My camera isn't a DSLR or nuffink- in fact, I'm pretty sure it's only a couple of steps up from my grainy phone-cam -  but my dad says it's very possible to take an amazing photograph on a passable camera and he's always right. My little snapper doesn't have an abundance of settings, but if I spend time getting to grips with the limited aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings I'm sure I can produce far more valuable blog-fodder than I do at present.

#6. Reverse my current "that ain't music, back in my day..." mentality

I used to be well into my choonz. My CD collection was in the hundreds, and I was attending at least two gigs a week. I don't really know what happened, tbh. I got older, new indie and metal music started boring me, and the price of gigs in general went through the roof. Now I've found myself stuck in a musical rut with no idea how to escape. This needs to be remedied, and fast. Spotify is still free in Germany, for Gods sake. I need to stop listening to 80's Italo Euro disco and start expanding my musical interests again. Recommendations are always welcome, by the way. Unless you're suggesting country music. In that case, do kindly fuck off.

#7. Diversify my leisure time

There are a lot of museums in Berlin. Art galleries, too. There are dance performances, obscure theatre productions, installations and local gigs abound. Have I been to any of these? Have I buggery. Most of my leisure time is spent either a) in pretty bars with fairy lights and an abundance of foliage b) washing my hair or c) watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Youtube. There is a whole city of culture out there, and I am entitled to student discount entrance prices. Why am I not taking advantage of this? When Sian visited, she managed to do three cultural things in under 48 hours. That's embarrassing. Museum Island, I'm coming to get you.

#8. Stop drinking beer


Bis bald,
Betti Baudelaire xxx

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