Like I said last week, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. This whole ‘six months in London’ thing has given me plenty of food for thought, because if I’m totally honest, I found that transition considerably more difficult than I expected to.
I mean, I knew it’d be hard, especially as I’d spent the month before I left living with my folks and eating good old-fashioned home cookin’ every day, while I sold off the contents of my Worcester life. That in itself is something I have to physically tear myself away from.
But I didn’t imagine it being quite as difficult as it was.
I like to think I’m pretty strong, and not just in terms of the weights I lift. I don’t scare easily, and generally I manage to keep my sh*t together say, 90% of the time. I can handle work stress like a pro (although my new job seems to be less stress, more fun – which works for me) and I don’t tend to worry about things I know I can’t change, because frankly, I just don’t have the time.
So with all that in mind, I thought I’d find it pretty easy to make the move from small town happiness to big city superstyle (or something like that) because… Well, I’m cool.
The first couple of months whizzed by in a bit of a blur of introductions, cocktails, and tasty new cuisines, whilst trying to figure out how to do my new job and pinching myself that I’d been lucky enough to land it in the first place. Then I met my amazing, glamorous agent and started throwing myself into writing a book, all the while trying not to fall into a blind panic of I’m-not-good-enough-ness. And then I went a lil’ bit viral and spent three weeks catching up, trying to reply to ridiculously kind emails from people all over the world. These are all unbelievably amazing things that I am hella grateful for.
But then, things settled down, these amazing things became normal, and suddenly… I realised I was a little bit lost.
The only way I can describe it (and you know I don’t do metaphors, but I need one here) is like walking the tightrope before the people below have finished hanging the net. It’s probably going to be alright, so long as you can keep focused and avoid freaking out – but for a little while you’re wobbling precariously in a pretty scary position.
Of course, this is a crappy metaphor because there were still plenty of old friends and family that I know I can call on at any time – but given they’re a hundred miles away, let’s just say they’re like the audience cheering you on (or the people ready to call an ambulance if you drop. I dunno. I’m sure you get my point.)
Anyway, I’ll admit that I’ve been doing a lot of wobbling. I’ve not been eating right, I’ve been drinking more, I haven’t been taking the time for myself and my own wellbeing that I valued so much back when I had my lovely lil’ settled old life. My decision-making skills have been more informed by panic than logic, and it’s been… Well, it’s just been a bit weird. I haven’t been able to shake the sensation that something hasn’t been quite right.
None of this is helped by the fact that I’ve been ill, as I mentioned last week – but in a unique way, I think that may be the best thing that could’ve happened to me. It’s given me a reason to pull myself together.
First of all, it’s partly why I started 30 Days of Good Stuff – because it’s been a way of reminding myself of what’s important whilst (hopefully) helping to give a few people out there a bit of an extra boost. And over the last few days, since I started taking my health seriously again, the fog has really started to lift.
I’ve had more energy, and I’ve been sleeping better – and I feel like I’m seeing things clearly again. As I said to Tom Dyer – probably one of the people I’m most grateful to have in my newfound life – it’s like I’ve stopped focusing on how I get to the end of the day, and started seeing where I’m going to be in three months. I’m back in control of things.
But this isn’t just related to eating right and sleeping better – although I don’t think the whole mind/body connection should be underestimated, given how much of an improvement I’ve seen since this time last week.
Just as important is the fact that I’ve realised I’ve got a whole new safety net now. I’m not sure I properly appreciated it as quickly as I should’ve, but I’ve made some real friends here – people I trust, people I’m genuinely privileged to know – and it’s such a relief. It’s also kind of an amazing thing.
These are people I didn’t know existed, eight months ago. I could’ve passed ’em in the street and thought nothing of it, but now, they’re a huge part of the reason behind my own personal happiness. And this, to me, seems like a valuable lesson in appreciating other people, and the potential for you to be better for knowing them. It’s also the argument for putting your faith in happiness, even when you’re doing things that absolutely terrify you.
I’m glad it hasn’t been an easy move, and I’m glad I jumped in with both feet. I don’t regret that in the least, because now – six and a bit months on – I can see that my life is infinitely richer for it. I’ve still got the most amazing friends and family back home, and I’ve gained a whole world of new people and experiences here. I hope I’ll continue to do so.
So my point, if there is one, is that you should do things that scare you. And don’t freak out when sometimes that means you’ve gotta have a wobble. By all means, do so. Because chances are, if you’re having to do that, it means you’re doing things that challenge you, rather than resting on guaranteed outcomes.
It’s a leap of faith if ever there was one, and it takes time to recover your balance – but I don’t regret mine in the least. In fact, now I’ve got that safety net back, I’m able to start a whole new chapter of downright booty-shaking awesomeness – and if that ain’t the definition of happiness, I don’t know what is.