I’ve made some big changes to try and get my health back on track after years of damage from eating gluten. But getting up at 7 for an early morning walk, being super prepared about when, where and what I’ll eat, early nights and no drinking – well lets just say they don’t really fit into the typical “uni experience”. But believe it or not, I’m glad. Obviously things like staying up all night and watching the sunrise come up over the sea, whilst sitting on the roof of a student house surrounded by the people who you have found a home from home with, is a very memorable and beautiful experience. But as boring as it sounds, disrupted sleep patterns messed my body up for weeks afterwards, not to mention all the nights out I had where I drank and had double the hangover of my friends the next day (and not because I’d drank twice as much).
I decided I needed to think about my priorities and what was going to work for me. So, I treated myself to some nights in with long, hot baths, day trips to explore the clifftops complete with a dip in the sea and accompanied by a yummy gluten free lunch box. All things which made me feel good, and a lot better than sleeping all day groaning about the night before.
Don’t get me wrong I still know how have fun, but lucky for me the nightlife in Falmouth happens to come to a standstill at 2am rather than all night which I’m used to up in Newcastle. But midnights about as late as it gets for me recently! And if I’m really feeling fatigue from my recovering body then I’ll listen to it and go home even earlier to sleep. Or if theres a band I’ve really been looking forward to seeing then I’ll stay up that little bit later to catch them. The important thing is to know when to stop and know when to keep going. I’ll go to open mic nights, hip-hop, reggae, drum n bass, soul, jazz, live music, nights with a soundsystem, festivals on a farm, you name it and of course, I’ll be dancing away but there’ll be a glass of water in my hand rather than my used-to-be-favourite rum and coke.
There are tensions between wanting to look after my stomach and wanting to go out with friends and not be the only sober one – it is tempting to just give up on myself for one night and let loose. Which is why I’ve tried and failed many times to be completely straight edge but THIS time round I’m determined. Plus I made a pact with my brother that we’d both give up alcohol and I don’t break promises. It just seems completely counter productive to make all this effort with diet and lifestyle, to be healthy and repair the stomach, yet still drink every weekend – illogical.
And it strikes me as being very important to have fun sober, our culture seems to rely heavily on drinking to socialise and go out. But now, I’d rather go out for the enjoyment of music, dance and seeing friends, not to compete on who can down the most shots in the shortest amount of time.