It’s strange to think that just four years ago I was running along the Thames River in Battersea Park when I fell flat on my face. Embarrassed as the oncoming runner slowed to help me, I bounced back up as if it never happened. It was a clear wake-up call—the diet I was on wasn’t healthy and I crashed. At the time, I felt empty and confused with my life (when am I not confused about life?) As I shamefully walked home, too weak to run, I noticed the beautiful historic architecture of the buildings. The air was just cool enough for a light jacket and the sky had turned to a blue-gray overcast. In the distance, I could see the sun peeking out and a light breeze blew by me. It’s like nature was telling me that I may have just fallen down, but at least I got back up and was walking forward.
Lately, I’ve been under pressure. Out in public, I handle stressful situations well, but behind closed doors, the stress creeps up on me. I’ve spent a week in my hometown for a little vacation visiting with family and friends. The downside was that I was sick all week, but at least I had a chance to see everyone I love. The vacation, though fun and exciting, I came back not quite stress-free. Actually, there was some weight hanging on my shoulders and I didn’t realize until I got back to work.
Sitting in the office again, it was nice to have less chaos than what I left it at before my vacation. It was quiet for the majority of the day until an issue that has been lingering on and on and on popped back up. My day was immediately dampened as my stress level rose while I tried to sort out the situation. London life became stressful again and this wasn’t what I had in mind when I first wanted to live here.
After work, I met my partner for a quick tea and chat before he needed to run off to coach improv. He was happy to tell me of some great news he received at work and I was thrilled to hear it. There was so much joy in his eyes and here I was moping about the pressure of my job. With the perfect weather that evening, I decided a walk to clear my head might do me some good. I said goodbye and walked up Southbank by the river when it hit me—the air, the sky, the city. I’ve fallen down again—not physically, but mentally—just like I had four years ago. Standing at the railing of the river, I looked up at the blue-gray sky and saw once again the sun peeking out at me. This is why I fell in love with London.
Living in London isn’t all that it’s talked up to be. It’s easy to get lost in the busy lifestyle of the city, the rush of a 40-hour a week job and even the ongoing events happening daily. It’s easy in this city to find yourself wearing black clothing just to blend in with the crowd. It’s easy to think that it’s you versus the chaos of the city. I used to walk everywhere, not worrying about the time. Now, I’m rushing from one place to the next. It seems as I’ve settled into my life here, I’ve forgotten to stop and acknowledge the beauty of London.
These last few days have been so perfect only because I’ve not rushed my evenings. I’ve left work on time and walked home not caring what time I get in and not worrying about having to be asleep at a certain time. I’m not living on a schedule or rushing to meet deadlines at home. I’m just enjoying my time. That’s what London gave me four years. It allowed me to relax and just do life as I pleased. I miss that and I think it’s time I let go of the control and just enjoy living the twentysomething life.