London, panic and a dinner four years in the making

Typing Room Bethnal Green  for a celebration dinner

London can keep you on a panic high for months. You are so busy riding the London stress train with flats, friends and visas all going wrong at once and there never seems to be an end point. Soon, you tell yourself, I will be done and I can relax and enjoy life. I will be one of those girls on Instagram eating pulled pork next to a live band while some guy in a beard and three quarter chinos takes my photo. I will start enjoying London just as soon as I have figured my life out.

Truth cliff: you never will.

There is always something in life, particularly in London. Just when you figure one visa out, the next immigration stress begins. As soon as you have settled into your new flat your landlord announces they are going to sell. Work is a rollercoaster that depends on colleagues, projects, lunch options and the weather. And don’t even get me started on relationships. There is never a perfect time. You will never reach the point that it is all working out. So, you need to draw a line in the sand.

Typing Room Bethnal Green  tasting menu

You need to accept that life will be messy because we are all humans trying to figure it out. But messiness should not stop you from enjoyment, it should not stop you from living the life you want.  All that stress you are going through that seems so heightened and tough, is because you live in London. You live in London not for the bad bits but in spite of them, London was your end goal for a reason. If you forget that? Unhappiness reigns.

I combat the malaise by celebrating my London anniversary every year, it is my line in the sand. On April Fools day (the most auspicious day for starting life in a new country) you will find me dressed to the nines, solo dining at one of the top restaurants in London. I save for this for months just to have my moment of careless abandon, of self-celebration. This year it was the Typing Room in the Bethnal Green Hotel eating a seven course dinner and drinking wine in a burbling room.

I sat at that table and emailed my sister to tell her what she means to me. I scrolled through the photos on my phone to remember the best parts of my life in London. I messaged the friends I have made here to say how much I love them. I read some old blog post from the bad times and the good. I for a moment separated myself from the sometimes overwhelming life stress and exhaustion to remember that I chose this, I chose a life I love.

Typing Room Bethnal Green  sweets

This is my way of celebrating London, but you seriously need to find one of your own. It could be travel, seeing a play that would never make it to your home town, capturing monuments, or even drinking in a pub with a friend. Remind yourself that you have chosen London, and all the crap is just what you put up with so you can live the life you want. Don’t let yourself drown, find your line in the sand.

P.s. Dinner was awesome, the marmite butter slightly life changing and you need to go if you have the time and the money.

6 Comments

  1. August 15, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Such a lovely tradition babes. And as someone right in the thick of the visa reapplication process: I am with you 100%. xx

  2. August 15, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    Hi Rebecca,

    Life has a way of throwing stuff at you, doesn’t it. Makes it all the more important to enjoy the good times when they come along and to find the space for good times even when the going is tough.

    I’m really sorry to hear about the flat. Housing is such a mess in this country, and should be a major embarrassment to this governments and those that have gone before it.

    Brian.

  3. August 15, 2016 / 1:42 pm

    OK, first: MARMITE BUTTER HOLY JESUS.
    Second: I needed this today. It’s five years yesterday since I moved to London. 2 months today since I returned from travelling alone. I’m sat eating salad at my desk, patching up a relationship that took a serious turn for the shitty, looking at my diary and wondering when I will ever have a day off to just chill the hell out.

    But you’re right. I chose London. I’ve travelled all over the world but I chose to come back here because I love it and I love the life it gives me. I need to just take a step back and have a word with myself occasionally, but I’m pretty sure I’d have to do that wherever I lived. I’m going to draw my line in the sand. I am!

    Cx
    Charlie, Distracted

  4. August 16, 2016 / 10:39 pm

    Love that you make it a solo day of celebration! What a wonderful read. And this top dining spot is down the road from me! Although I’ve not been yet I have been to the bar opposite and its in my top lists.

  5. August 17, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    What a fabulous tradition! And totally agree that there is never a ‘right’ time to do the things you want to do. I once asked a friend when life was going to get back to ‘normal’ and she informed me that this is just the life of a grown up. WHY DID NOBODY TELL US???

  6. August 17, 2016 / 2:09 pm

    What a brilliant idea! I might start doing it!