Rewrite Your Success Narrative: When Success is Just Getting Through the Day

I am writing this article at 8 in the morning on a Monday. At the library. If a person were to tell me that, my first question would be “what the hell are you doing at 8 in the morning at the library?”. The answer is that I do not know. Or rather, I know. It is to “make up” for yesterday. I have had an awful Sunday; I tried to study, but I was not productive at all, I tried to sleep, but I kept overthinking that I was wasting my time while I could be studying or cleaning or doing something meaningful instead. I ended up ordering pizza and binge-watching Squid Game on my couch (again). Which is fine. Except it was not for my head. Two voices were consistently fighting inside me. 

“It is Sunday, you deserve some relax after a long week.” “You are so behind with lectures, though.” 

“You have eaten clean all week, it’s finally time for some comfort food!” “But you’re ruining all your progresses, are you aware of that?” 

“You can finally be with yourself and enjoy some time alone.” “But you could be out socialising with people, you do not have time to do that during the week and now you’re wasting your opportunity just because you are tired? Bullshit.” 

I could go on for a while. I am sure all of you have had at least one of these thoughts at some point during your life. If I can hazard, not that long ago.  

I am not here to tell you how to shut down these thoughts, never to have them again; I am here to tell you that you can live your life to the fullest despite these voices. We all feel guilty for a variety of reasons. Of course we do. We live in a society that constantly compares our lives to other people’s lives to see who is living the busiest life. Living your best life is now a synonym for not having a single moment of relaxation in your day. I’ll tell you what: sometimes getting out of bed is living your best life. Sometimes all you need is a 2-hours nap and a Chinese takeaway to eat in bed.  

It seems that, after the pandemic, everyone wants to party and socialise and explore, and I get it. I also agree with it, I have always been that one friend to advise you to take risks, suck the marrow out of life. Nevertheless – quoting Robin Williams in one of my favourite films, “Dead Poets Society” – sucking the marrow out of life does not mean choking on the bone.  

Listen to your body. You do not have to go for drinks three nights in a row only because your friends ask you to. You can, if you feel it is the right choice for you. But don’t, if you are doing it just not to be alone. 

Of all the things I learned since when I started living alone a couple of months ago, there is one truth that I will always bring with me: alone is not lonely. Spending time with yourself is probably the best way to use your time. At the end of the day, you’re the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Take yourself on a date. Buy a book that you want to read. Cook a nourishing meal and eat it while watching your favourite film on the couch with only the light of a candle. Get to know yourself so that you will be able to make yourself happy without having to rely on other people. And, most of all, take your time. Life is not a race. It does not affect you that Taylor is on top of her lectures or Josh goes to all the weekly workouts for your sports’ society. They are not you. Even if you fall behind with uni work or don’t have the motivation to go to the gym, or if you have spent the whole day lying in bed crying and staring at the ceiling, you are doing great. You can’t always do it all, especially after two years in which we were forced to stay inside and do nothing all the time. So take a deep breath, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are proud of who you are and of what you have accomplished today. You are doing just great. 

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