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Crunch Time.

I should be packing right now, but it seems such a daunting prospect that I’m going to stick to my usual routine of closing my eyes and hoping it all sorts itself out independently. Failing that, I’ll do it later, i.e. half an hour before I’m due to leave for England tomorrow night.

Seriously, it’s only at times like these when I realise with mixed emotions exactly how many films/ games/ books I own. It’s far too much to be carting around the U.K. every few months, so I figure in future I’ll just keep them all in the one place until I get back, although I can see problems with that plan already. For one, I may not live in the U.K. permanently. For two, I may not live wherever I move to from the U.K. permanently. For three, I may not live wherever I move to from the place I’ve moved to from the U.K. permane- oh look I’ve gone cross-eyed.

So for now I’ll try not to worry about the future too much and instead look back on the past. The summer hasn’t been that easy for me, which is somewhat ironic considering its relative uneventfulness. Three main things have got me through five consecutive months in which I’ve been out of university, out of work, and at times, out of confidence. Those three things are, in reverse order:

3. NO ALCOHOL – I can sense the sighs in the audience now, from people who remind me all-too-often that “it’s okay for christians to drink too“, before proceeding to point out examples of christians that do like to drink. Hey, I think it’s great that not drinking alcohol is giving me the opportunity to talk about Jesus, but here’s the thing: even if I wasn’t a Christian, even if I was the most stubborn, hard-headed athiest you’d find in East Belfast, I still wouldn’t drink alcohol. It just doesn’t taste great guys, and while it may give you a nice feeling in the short term, I’ve found not drinking alcohol to be more beneficial to me in the long term, both financially and physically. It’s not an iron-clad system, of course… (red wine is good for your heart, after all).

2. YOU’RE READING IT – No alcohol hasn’t really cured my procrastination regarding my website, I’ll admit that, but nonetheless, writing regular reviews over the summer has given me some sense of purpose and structure. I’ve found those times when I haven’t wrote for a couple of days are the times I start thinking about everything again, and it’s not good for me to think too much. Not about real life, anyway. One mistake I perhaps made in this area was thinking too much about sticking to a schedule when there was no real need to at this time, therefore putting myself under pressure to the point where I started treating the writing as work. Advice to writers: it’s okay to have a schedule, preferable even, but if it’s causing you to think of your writing as work done to a deadline rather than something you can relax into and enjoy, it’s probably best to rethink your priorities. Or at least have someone you trust there who can encourage you to meet said deadline, after being honest with you about whether it’s realistic. Deep down, you’ll know yourself what you’re capable of. The problem sometimes is believing it. I found it was when I was able to write without the pressure that I was able to do it regularly. So I’m working on sticking at it for good this time.

1. GOD – Yeah, yeah, I know. I won’t dawdle on this one. But he has been there, and he has helped. Most likely in ways I don’t even know, probably never will know. It’s in the people who’ve been there for me where I see His infuence most, those who have looked past my apparent recent failures with the hope that we would reach the other side and live happily ever after.

And it looks like we just about have reached the other side of the summer now. I’m filled with the usual feelings of melancholy and slight apprehension that accompany a change from something you’ve almost come to get used to. But also mixed in there is a form of modest excitement, because when all is said and done, I’m five months better off than I was before. Surely that has to count for something?

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