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.
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.
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.