My dad always used to warn ‘laziness breeds laziness’. Usually at around midday, while standing over me in a halo of hazy sunlight, preparing to mercilessly tear away my duvet.
If that’s true, then recently I’ve been growing into some kind of lazy Darwinian master race. Delicious, sweaty, long-term laziness of the kind you read about in Daily Mail columns about benefit cheats.
It’s all well and good complaining about the graduate job market, but after half a year that stops being an excuse for getting out of bed at 2 o clock every day. If I didn’t have a dog to walk, I’d rarely leave the house at all. The problem is that however self-aware I might be – I make sure to grumble out loud as I make toast every afternoon about how Not Alright this is, to appease my conscience – that lifestyle is a cycle. As time goes on, it becomes more and more soul-sucking.
In November I sucked it up and got a bar job on minimum wage, which helped a little, but pub hours did little to rectify my sleeping pattern, and a post-Christmas shifts lull left me pretty much back where I started. Even this blog in of itself is a symptom – my New Year’s Resolution was simply to ‘write more stuff’, yet here it is, with a month-long gap following the first two posts. That’s a goal that didn’t even necessarily require me to get out of bed! Although I would have to close Netflix, I guess. Yes, I am still watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, thank you.
One thing that had successfully broken this cycle at university was my spur of the moment decision to play American football (which, when traced back far enough, was the result of a Kansas Chiefs hat worn to hide a dodgy haircut). So, last Sunday, I got on a bus and went to join the London Olympians. Running and throwing is fun, we all already knew that, so it was nice to dive back in, but the point of this whole preamble has been to discuss my first attempt at the team’s Strength and Conditioning training.
As far as recreational activities go, I would file this under ‘Cruel and Unusual Punishment’. Run here, run there, do 15 burpees, do it again, do 15 more, drag this truck tyre, etc, etc. “When the season starts, nobody will be fitter than you”, the coaches remind us as my muscles scream, my head wilts, and the sedentary ubermensch inside me tugs at my sleeve and whines about being outside.
Walking to the train station, I started weighing up whether I could commit to joining the team – American football is an expensive sport to play, I’m physically many levels below the others…all fancy ways of saying: part of me can’t be bothered.
But, sitting on the train, a feeling came back that I hadn’t felt in a while, amplified by time and suddenness. I’d actually got up, gone somewhere, and forced myself to work as hard as I could at something, and I felt pumped and motivated and optimistic. When I’d got on the train, I could barely pick up my feet, but when I got off there was a spring in my step.
Self-discipline is hard – at 22, the lack of it is my most childish trait – but one evening of punishing training reminded me that I shouldn’t be narcissistically wallowing in self-pity.
The start of February means I finished university 9 months ago – in the time it takes to create an entire new human for me to compete with, I’ve mostly sat around, sent out job applications, and waited. I’m not going to pretend I’ve had an epiphany and suddenly changed my life, but I’m going to stick at the football. If laziness breeds laziness, then I just have to try and breed it out.