By Lorna Petty
My desk is a mess right now. I’m writing this amidst a sea of loose papers, post-it notes, open books, and dirty mugs. I like to excuse my unorthodox attitude to workspace organisation as ‘creative’: I’m a humanities student, I don’t do ‘orderly’. But the truth is my surroundings simply reflect my innate inability to neatly manage myself.
Most of the time I don’t find that my chaotic style disadvantages me to any great extent. I’ve forever wished I were an aesthetic, calligraphy-poster kind of girl but I have come to accept that my natural state is simply to exist in a mode of constant disorganisation. I’m terrible at answering messages, late to everything, and perpetually burdened with over 5000 unread emails.
So for people like me, this summer is a looming nightmare.
Overwhelmed with ticket bookings and limited-capacity events, the coming months are not stress-free for anyone. But my usual last-minute approach to socialising will certainly not hold up against my super-organised ticket competitors. I happen to be blessed with a mature group of adult, organised friends who remind me of ticket sales and remember to book pub slots a week in advance. But without them, I would be spending my newfound freedom in my own garden with no greater excitement than a cracking noughties playlist and a few cocktails.
However, perhaps this booked-in-advance summer will take a greater toll than just the FOMO of those who missed out. Our post-pandemic society has acknowledged the unsustainable speed at which we charged through life before being forced to slow down over this past year, and yet we seem to have learnt nothing.
Part of the reason I don’t often curse my disorganised social life is because it allows me to go out when I feel like it and give myself time off when I need it. But having already booked and paid for a marathon of events, summer me is going to have to improve her stamina given she currently can’t hack one night at the bar before declaring she needs a week off.
So I guess this summer is about getting a balance. As someone with zero ability to plan anything in advance, I need to stop making a comedy out of the chaos before I’m sat alone whilst my friends are at ‘Invades’ or a darts night without me.
But perhaps it’s also worth reflecting in the calm before the summer storm. Do we really need to spend every minute of our newfound freedom intensely focussed on enjoying ourselves to the maximum extent, or is it time we restructured our social lives to make room for slowness and recovery?
Illustration: Verity Laycock.