Your friends, family, colleagues and society at large will tell you that your life needs to revolve around when you’re next going to shower. Often they’re right but occasionally they’re wrong. Sometimes, it’s okay not to shower. Sometimes, it’s okay to exercise before work and just embark on a thorough wet wiping before stepping into your office clothes. Sometimes, it’s okay to pull a twig from your hair whilst you’re sitting at your desk waiting for a call.
I had put off going to Project Awesome for months because it seemed out of the question to head to work afterwards not having lathered up under a steady stream of hot water. Last Tuesday night though, at a meeting about a double decker bus, I gave my word to several people that I would see them at 6.30am the following day. When my alarm rang through my pillow at five o’ clock the next morning, I hauled myself out of bed and into my trainers before my brain really knew what was happening.
It so happened to be the hottest day of the year so far. After an hour of step repeats and bridge sprints and a fair dose of planking, we threw our sweaty selves into the London Bridge fountains before squeezing onto the tube, water dripping everywhere. I made a make shift washing line for my sopping kit beside my desk, keen for it to dry out before the 10km fun run I’d agreed to take part in that evening. When I got home at 11.30pm, I calculated that I had been out of the house for 18 hours and been more than a little sweaty for the majority of that time. It was okay. I survived, I didn’t smell, I still have a job.
Another morning, I appeared at work after a night in the woods eating a squashed pain au chocolat from the bottom of my back pack and smelling distinctly like a bonfire. I also ran 10km with a group of complete strangers dressed in tennis themed running gear at midnight around Westminster, went bivvying a mere 25 minutes from my front door and skidded into work covered in bike grease after a few wobbles and a lot of getting lost on my commute. I’ve had weeks before which have been a lot cleaner but very few weeks which have ever been so much fun.
I’m writing this from my childhood bedroom in Northampton. The sun is shining and the view from the window is the same one I’ve been looking at for 23 years; the train track, the fields, a housing estate on the horizon. I’ve eaten my way through almost everything in my parents’ fridge and I’ve been to my Grandma’s house for an obligatory afternoon nap on the sofa. It’s the first time I’ve really sat still for weeks and I feel calm, very calm. I also feel a little bit bored.
That’s the thing about having a really great week, you end up so frantic with excitement that it’s hard to stop. I feel overwhelmed by the amount of words I seem to have in my head, the amount of things I want to say and the amount of people I want to speak to. Something changed for me last week. There was a lot of inspiration flying around, a lot of productive peer pressure, and I suddenly feel motivated to make things happen.
It’s okay not to shower sometimes. It’s okay to do pretty much anything you want to do.