You’re leaving London? Why? What are you going to do? Wont you be bored/lonely/broke without a full time job?
A few of the questions I was asked by well meaning colleagues and acquaintances when I announced that I would be leaving London at the end of August.
It was just over two months ago now that I left my full time job in London, changed my phone number, moved out of the city I’ve called home for 7 years and stopped living within a few miles of my best friends.
In truth, I was fucking petrified of this decision, of leaving London, but I was in search of something better.
It had been a long time coming. I had often romanticised in my head leaving London, heading back to live in the countryside with less stress, less need to be busy and more freedom (I imagined). And yet I couldn’t quite make the jump. I couldn’t imagine my life without London, without the stress, the busyness and the routine of a 9-6.
Rebecca Campbell writes in Light is The New Black: “I was stuck in a life of my own creation” – and in truth that is how I felt.
I had the life that I created: a good job, a flat in Hackney, walking distance to yoga studios, my best friends, iconic street food and Michelin star restaurants. The life that I dreamed of at 17 when I had to spend 45 minutes driving to see any of my schoolmates (and to get to school).
Yet without drinking too much and hangovers and the distractions that came from the alcohol-fuelled drama I created, I became very aware that London life wasn’t working for me anymore, office life wasn’t working for me either.
The office stoked my anxiety, the routine went from something I craved to the very thing I dreaded. I felt overwhelmed by the choice of London and like it didn’t quite suit my new priorities.
I loved seeing friends every day, but I craved seeing my family and a slower pace of life.
A year ago my story looked so very different – and the things I wanted were very different too.
Last October I got so drunk I had a massive argument with a friend, headed back to Hackney with a man (not sure who he was – couldn’t have identified him even the next day) ran away from him in Bethnal Green before going to the pub for one final drink alone and going home – somewhere along the line I’d left my laptop, iPad and bag in a pub I’d been in (the next day I had no idea which pub). I laughed all of this off as if it was ‘fun’.
And in reality, I have individualised that story for effect but it wasn’t out of the norm for a Thursday/Friday/Saturday night. Drinking a lot, staying out too late with friends was my normal, and it was my idea of fun.
In the last year I’ve changed my story, and I’ve achieved things I wrote in my journal as far off dreams.
I’ve documented my sobriety journey on this blog, my path to alcohol free and across my Instagram account.
It has at times not been an easy ride, but sobriety has opened my eyes to a new way of life.
With a bit of distance from my hamster wheel of living for the weekend, and a bit of money saved: I began to see that leaving London was possible. It could be a reality.
I trained to be a yoga teacher at the start of 2017 and now it’s my job! I’m a yoga teacher, a writer, a marketing consultant and I help my parents run their pub (yep sober pub bar tender over here!). I work everyday to make not drinking cool.
No one day looks the same for me any more. In fact, using today as an example:
Woke Up / Read / Drank (decaf) coffee
Did an hour of marketing consulting for a company I work for
Now writing this blog post
Later I will drive to Cambridge to teach my two Hot Pod Yoga classes
I don’t have the office routine anymore, or the regular salaried pay-cheque, but I do have the countryside air, freedom over my own schedule and my anxiety and depression are fading into the background.
Leaving London isn’t for everyone, it might not be forever for me. But right now. It is the best decision I have ever made for myself.
This life is magic.
All my love, L xx
This post is lovingly linked to: Brilliant Blog Posts