A short explanation on why I choose to suffer DofE

First, a quick explanation if you don’t know what DofE is:

You do a 2 day 1 night (Bronze), 3 day 2 night (Silver) and 4 day 3 night (Gold) expedition. This goes from simple roads, to moorland, to mountainous. There’s also 3 sections- Physical, Skill and Volunteering. Exactly what is says on the tin. For Gold you also have to do a residential, like a summer school or perhaps NCS.

Anyway, the focus here is the expedition. No matter the weather, you’re out there. A heavy bag on your back, annoying people and stupid views that make up for nothing. Many km you have to walk, and hills you have to climb. Many mistakes of taking disgusting food, or in my case not taking a pillow (which isn’t allowed, but it’s worth it). Not to mention your personal hygiene soars out the freaking window. Some evenings it’s 16:30, tipping it down, windy and you have to be outside cooking something on your stove. Or in the early morning at 7:00 you’re scrubbing the black parts of your stove, running late to leave because your teachers are being nit-picky. And whilst walking, you’ll either be stuck with people who are too fit and fast, or too slow and pathetic.

Are you leaping at the chance to do it yet?

The point is, those things are kind of good. I myself am an indoorsy person. I like comfort, warmth and internet- and being left the HELL alone. And I get that comfort every day when I get back home. But DofE takes that away. And it’s awful. But I appreciate it when I get back. My family will buy me a milkshake from McDonalds (it used to be chicken nuggets, but alas, vegetarianism), and when I get home I get to burn in the shower, flop onto my bed and put on Netflix. I get to feel ‘thank goodness that’s over’. It’s good every now and then to be uncomfortable. It makes the good things in your life better. Not to mention you do get some good stories; like lying by the lake looking at the stars, a boy snorting Pringles like cocaine, a couple who stupidly decided to go in a group together, somebody running around camp in their underwear etc. (Note. these are my genuine memories). Not to mention, for me, it makes where I live pretty good. Going up the counties biggest tor (it’s called Brown Willy, let’s all be mature please), seeing vast moorland and thinking that walking can actually be a challenge are some things I never would’ve done. .

And that is precisely why, despite wanting to give up whilst climbing Rough Tor the other day, I never will give up. I’ve done Bronze. I’ve done Silver. And curse my life- I’m finishing Gold.

How NOT to be zen

My last post was at some point in May last year. Wow. One way NOT to be zen would be to read over my past posts and dwelve into the cringe-fest which is me, ranging from 4 years ago to yesterday.

However, it did bring one non-god awful thing to mind; how much has changed since then. Less than a year ago.

At that point, I would’ve (should’ve) been revising for my GCSE’s. I’d be thinking that I would be going to Truro College and not going to Prom, and how I would become a doctor in the future, and live in the states. I’d be imaging that future, both the near and far, and thinking how I could never truly predict it, but I would try to make it possible. And that’s true. I didn’t go to Truro and I did go to stupid Prom, I remained at my college’s sixth form. I changed and now wish to be an engineer, and study and live in Japan. And god forbid that fucking changes because then I’ll have to retake A-levels- again, another way how NOT to be zen.

But the more I say it all out loud, the less it sounds like the future. I mean, NOW I am studying things like further maths and physics which will lead to engineering, NOW I am studying Japanese and asking my teachers for advice on applying for University abroad. So perhaps, there are points in our lives where the future is certain. Or just points where we make one future far more certain. It will either be my studying in Japan, or being annoyed that I wasted my time. But if I think about it, I studied hard and chose Biology, I successfully applied to Truro; but that future still changed, because I did. People like to think the future is out of their hands, but it’s not. That’s the only place it is. That’s why your future is seemingly changing and unpredictable; because that’s what you are. So worrying and panicking and overthinking it is a way NOT to be zen, and it is fruitless. If you want a good future, get it. Move away. Far away. Put yourself out there. It’s hard and scary, but somewhere there is a place or a person that will allow you to be happy. And you don’t need to achieve your dreams to be happy anyway.

Another way to be zen- stop caring. Sure, I’ve reached the point where I literally care about two people, but it’s easier than you think. I get ready to be angry a lot, but now I’m just kind of like… ‘eh’. Why be angry? What does it allow you to gain? It’s pointless. That doesn’t mean become a doormat, but set down some rules. For example, accept the fact people bitch about you. And you bitch about them. But you’re still friends, and you still care about them. It’s just a normal thing.

You might wonder why this post is about this; and it’s because others doing A-levels are stressed to the tits. I’ve never stayed up past 1:00 am doing work. Sure, that’s because I love sleep, but still. I go to revision every day. I’m doing 5 A-levels. I have a mourning grandfather with mood swings. I have a twin sister who’s anti-relationship whilst I’m in one. I am slowly seeping into despair due to realising that I’m a heartless cunt. But I don’t care. I have this safe space. Upstairs. My room. This laptop and this internet. (Or my boyfriends bedroom, but let’s just stick to mine right now). And up here, nothing matters. No matter what happens, I’ll have this safe space. And when I’m older, I’ll have a new one. But I will always have one. If I want to do well in school, I will. And even if I don’t, there’s so many things to do. Like marry a rich person. In fact, I’m just sat here thinking of all the good movies that are due to come out this year, and I’m fucking happy.

So, how NOT to be zen. There isn’t a way, unless your IQ is less than 70. You’ll always think. You’ll always stress. You’ll always get irritated. And that’s okay. Because happiness is easy, and it’s not what you think.