A few days ago, I came across a very simple test that claimed to point you towards the city where you belong. I only pick up on these sort of tests when I’m sleepy, or blocked. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Then I hit the button and there it was:
Funny, I thought. London and me didn’t kick off very well at the beginning. Then winter came, and I hibernated for almost 4 months. I wasn’t happy at my job, and I wasn’t happy in my apartment either. Actually, I wasn’t even happy in my neighborhood. I took it on London – I blamed the city for my bad mood. The weather, the crammed tubes to work, the traffic and people’s unhappy faces. No natural light and lots of stress was bringing me down.
Spring opened my eyes – I needed a change. I took time to think about what made me feel miserable and what was in my hands to change it. Early summer saw me finally rise again: I had an aha-moment, some sort of enlightening. The only thing in my way to be happy was myself, and, with this realization, everything was suddenly in my hands. So what did I do?
I handed in my resignation letter…
…applied for a short course in Event Management…
…and have started to volunteer at all sorts of events in and around London.
I moved to a new apartment…
…In a completely new neighborhood…
…With a stranger (no so much of a stranger anymore).
And all of a sudden, London has become so much friendlier, warmer and overall better city to live in.
It’s funny how other parts of our lives have such a strong effect on us, that they can completely change the way we see a place. And sometimes, something as simple as moving to another neighborhood can change our whole perception.
When I first moved here, I wanted to be part of the big city: I pictured myself as a young professional working in finance and living in the trendy east. The place where all tech startups rise. An area known for trendy vintage shops and bohemian bars and cafes, underground music and graffiti art. I thought I would become part of this urban trend – but I didn’t.
I value space over distance, green areas over shopping alternatives and comfort over trendiness. East London is cool and it definitely had it’s advantages, but it simply isn’t the place I belong.
And so, I moved to the South West. Here, parks are abundant, people are young and laid back and coffee shops sell great lattes for affordable prices. I have a regular supermarket, I’ve already met some of my neighbors and spend my sundays alternating reading with people watching in the park. I’ve only been here 3 weeks, and already I feel settled and comfortable around the area. I’m even starting to think that I do belong here right now.