My Love/Hate Relationship with London
|Photo credit: Arkadiusz Radek|
I have a very love/hate relationship with London.
I’m writing this on my train journey home to Lincoln, where I’m looking forward to having a few days away from the hustle of the capital. I need a break from the impersonal busyness, the perpetual rush, the get-from-A-to-B-as-fast-as-possible mentality. I miss quiet. I miss friendly strangers. and train journeys that aren't packed like sardine boxes. Living beneath a flight path with aeroplanes flying overhead every hour and sirens shooting down my road to the hospital at the bottom of the hill means it’s never just silent even in my flat.
The hustle and bustle gets a bit much for a country girl like me, who spent half her childhood playing in the sea and the other half running around fields and jumping over becks.
Chasing butterflies and building river dams were two of my favourite things to do, FYI.
Saying that, I can't help but smile when I think of London.
The mixture of cultures living side by side, the exciting projects and pop-ups, the fact that there is always something new to try and somewhere different to explore. Is it strange that the rush of the city both excites and repulses me at the same time?
So many people yet so little humanity. Communication and interaction seem like alien concepts to the millennial Londoner, unless you’re doing it via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, of course. Even if you want to date someone new you have to use an app to start a conversation – God forbid you actually introduce yourself to someone in a bar! Definitely frowned upon as weird and too friendly down south.
I flip-flop between loving the fast-paced lifestyle and feeling suffocated by the rush.
I get to see a lot of exciting ventures emerging on the health and wellness scene in London, and I love seeing new businesses launching into the market, healthy street food stalls decorating street corners, exciting events and fitness concepts appearing daily.
I am the first to say yes to trying out a new cocktail bar or going to a funky restaurant. I pretty much always accept an invite to a launch night, party or fitness event. And this brings me on to another downside: the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real.
I get serious FOMO living in London.
There are just SO MANY things going on across the city. Every day, every weekend, every lunch time. I feel like if I turn down even just one invitation to a night out, a press event or a workout, I’ll regret it. The thing is, there are that many things going on every single day that there is always going to be something I miss out on. I'm never going to go to every event that sounds amazing, or try every pop-up before it disappears.
Learning to say no to things that will mean I stretch myself too thinly or jeopardise my wellbeing is something I’m working on in 2017. I know I shouldn't feel too guilty if I can't make it to something, and looking after myself is more important. But it's a work in progress.
Realistically, wanting to stay in and just spend some time by myself is a totally worthy reason not to go out, no matter how cool I think an event might be. When I lived in Lincoln permanently, I wasn’t bothered about missing a night out or choosing to stay home to cook a nourishing mean instead of going out to a party. It's London!
Yet in spite of all this, come Sunday evening after a long weekend of family, friends and quiet, I know I’ll be itching to get back down to the buzz of the big smoke.
Damn you London and your magnetism.