I don’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t feel restless, but since moving to London I have been a little more settled in myself. Of course, I wouldn’t be me without having itchy feet but it is no longer a constant annoyance, more like a dull tingling that occasionally needs scratched.
Growing up I never felt like I belonged, and although being a misfit looks cool in the movies it was lonely and hurtful not being able to understand why I wasn’t ‘normal’ or felt the security of acceptance.
Moving to London on a complete whim over 6 years ago I never knew how much the city would allow me to thrive and develop as a person. I know that it is a harsh place and, at times, extremely challenging but within the city I have been able to find my solitude. Being one tiny fragment amongst the millions of others who live here may seem intimidating but it gives me the inherent feeling that here anything is possible. It is this feeling of possibility that keeps me going on the days where I have been squashed by commuters, been left broke after only just covering rent and bills, and have paid £5 for a flat pint.
As a child I always felt that there was a microscope on me for being the ‘weird one’; this label wasn’t something I strived for, I just never really knew how to do anything other than be me. Being the centre of attention is where I feel most awkward but London never puts me in that position – I can blur into the crowd with ease.
It’s not all blissful living in the big smoke. As little as a few months ago I was feeling over London but as the old Samuel Johnson saying goes “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” and in reality that was the case, it was not London that I was frustrated with, it was me and the choices I had been making. So, instead of blaming the city I call home I made changes in my life to improve my happiness.
For me the only other place that gives me the same feeling of exhilaration coupled with a sense of belonging is New York but at the moment The Big Apple has to remain a future dream to work towards due to visa and financial restrictions.
Often depicted as the places people go to ‘make it big’, cities are equally a place where you can become invisible and it is this extreme nature that keeps me wanting more. Even though these vast metropolises are more associated with pandemonium than solitude, it is within the hustle of big tough city life where I find my inner peace; even when times get tough, the prospects of endless opportunities and chances keep me feeling hopeful and content. Also, if I do ever feel restless there are various escape routes right on my doorstep with 4 airports, plenty of trains, and coach stations.
London is not for everyone, and it might not be for me for forever, but right now I am happy to call this crazy city my home.