I follow all the self improvement sub-reddits. The ones that make you gasp and ‘gosh’ at all these humans around the world who wake up at 5am, go for a run, do some yoga and contribute more to the world before their Cheerios than you do in a full day.
Yes, I’ll say, this is my week. This is when I’ll finally write a poem every day, meditate for an hour, and work out every other day. I’ll get up and go for a jog just as dawn creeps in, and I’ll then whip up something green and nutritious in my Nutribullet before journalling like I’m fucking Ernest Hemingway.
I’ll sit at my desk and tap away at emails, words cascading down my fingers like children on water slides. I’ll break for lunch and not feel guilty about fucking off for half an hour to eat some beans on toast and maybe watch The Office. I’ll log back on and do my work and boss that meeting I’ve been so terrified about for weeks (the one where I’ll have to speak and sell our services with a honey-laced voice that only grows so sickly sweet when speaking to clients).
I’ll log off at 5.30pm and not feel guilty about not staying online for another three hours like that other girl, her icon a stubborn Shrek shade of green. It’s like a fucking challenge to find out who can stay online the longest, and who’s the most dedicated to this really-not-so-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things job. But instead I’ll shut the lid and forget about all the nothingness, and I’ll banish tomorrow’s meeting and next week’s presentation and the following month’s review from my brain as though they were cat hairs that met their end at the hands of a lint roller.
I’ll turn to YouTube for a workout that gives me electric thighs, Barbie doll arms and calves as juicy as hamburgers within a matter of weeks. I’ll see the poundage drop like Deliveroo groceries on a pandemic doorstep and I’ll finally feel chiseled and strong. Then I’ll take myself off for a shower and get in while the water’s running cold (I’ll do this three times a week to boost my immune system and tell everyone I know about it so they’re aware of how incredibly awesome I am).
I’ll apply skincare products as part of a rigorous routine to make my face porelessly porcelain. I’ll coat my hair with a masque that makes it smell like the inside of Victoria’s Secret or the Playboy Mansion. I’ll then read five thousand pages of a book, shunning Netflix for Sylvia Plath because I can learn much more through books than I can from Michael Scott obviously.
In fact, I grow so ambivalent towards Netflix that I cancel my subscription altogether. I sign out and tell my stepdad ‘no, I won’t be leeching off your account anymore’ and I bid adieu to Pam and Jim and all the others.
I’ll read a thousand books in a year. I’ll start studying beginners’ Arabic and take the GCSE in Russian I’ve been considering for a while. I’ll speak to pen-pals in unusual corners of the world and once I’m proficient in Russian and Arabic, I’ll apply to MI5 and become the next James Bond.
Oh the things I could do, if I could just get off my sodding arse.