Last year I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take three months out of work. Three months to shift down a few gears, go and see the world, connect with new people, drink a few pisco sours & eat a whole load of ceviche.
Those three months provided me with some of the most mind blowing, life changing, paradigm shifting experiences I’ve ever had. I spent my days working on projects I loved, visiting inspiring places, learning new things & having deep, open conversations with wonderful souls who made me feel (for the first time in a long time) so full of life & love and excitement for the future. When the time came to (tearfully) say goodbye to my newly formed f(r)amily it felt to me that life could never really be the same again. I promised myself to keep up with all the things I’d started whilst I was away & that somehow I’d maintain the balance I’d found whilst I was away back in London.
It’s been just over three weeks since I’ve been back. Three weeks. Three weeks that have almost undone all of the work that I did in those three months to find some semblance of balance. As if, maybe, I had dreamt it all? It happens all the time, almost every holiday I’ve ever been on I come back feeling right as rain, ready to face the city, work, my perpetually full diary, the sardine can tube journeys & weekends spent zig-zagging across the city to ‘catch up’ for an hour brunch, lunch, drink, dinner, dancing only to find 2 days in, I’m exhausted again. London seems to have this way of sweeping you into its energy vortex & without a hell of a lot of work (or self control) it’s almost impossible to stay upright. I seem to have been swept, unknowingly, into a rhythmn of alarm, shower, dress, sweat box tube, work, 5 min lunch walk catch up with friend, work, gym, sweat box tube, dinner, sweat box tube home, bed, repeat til Friday & then spend the weekend trying to catch up on sleep whilst also doing washing, tax returns, life admin, trying to be good friend/daughter/sister/aunt/insertotherliferole. There is that saying by Samuel Johnson that goes ‘when a man (cough, cough, woman) is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’ — damn right. This city has everything. I reckon you could spend a good few years eating out, museum-ing, bar hopping, lecture listening, theatre going without having to repeat anything. But the thing, which I think Mr Johnson missed, is that in order to genuinely enjoy ‘all the life can afford’ rather than be clock watching anxiously whilst wondering how on earth we’ll get to our next ‘appointment’ on time now that friend date number 1 of the day is running 15 mins late, we need some time to process life & somehow, in this (perpetually grey) urban jungle, find some semblance of balance.
Having been swept up into Londons tornado for the last 3 weeks, I took this weekend to try to reset a bit. Find my balance. Find my centre. This was partly me being virtuous, partly me being so exhausted that I couldn’t get up before 10:30am on Saturday (I’m usually a 5am-er) & my washing basket being so full that I was left with almost zero London winter appropriate outfits for me to leave the house in. Yes, there have been points this weekend of the inevitable I.am.a.thirty.year.old.single.woman.in.London.and.I.have. spent.all.saturday.doing.washing.cleaning.and.working.I.will.be.alone.and.lonely.forever.FOMO but sometimes we all just need a bit of time to ourselves to reset. I spent the weekend catching up on exciting projects I’m working on outside of my day job, going to my favourite yoga classes, catching up with friends in a non running from A to B type way and it’s now Sunday evening & I feel great, unlike most Sundays where I’m almost more tired than I was on Friday. My bucket is full & I’m almost ready to be swept back into the tornado but hopefully staying upright this time.
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