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The most terrifying thing about change, expected or unexpected, is the uncertainty it comes with. Even if you are sure that it’ll be for the best, you cannot help that nagging feeling at the back of your mind.
After fifteen years- over one hundred pairs of shoes amassed, too many handbags acquired, books, books and lots of books read, one written, unfathomable amount of clothes bought, several bad fashion trends adopted, friendships gained and lost and jobs lost and got- I moved from London to Sussex. This was a HUGE move, one not taken lightly. I had sleepless nights wondering and pondering, woke up covered in sweat and scared shitless of this next step. I’ve lived in London all of my adult life, loved it from the very first moment I stepped foot in it as a little girl, and I always will. But for the past couple of years I started to feel unsettled and like the last call at the bar; I knew it was time to leave.
My favourite chinese place around the corner, Starbucks up the road, the off licence where I was on first name basis with the owner who made sure to have my preferred flavour of tictac and Ribena in stock, the bus-stop ten minutes from my house, my favourite Thai in Kensington, Papa Johns’ pizza in West Hampstead, The West-End twenty away minutes on the tube, the Tube! the buses, my GP right outside my door, the vastness of Hyde Park, watching the sun set on Primrose Hill, the racous of Oxford Street, the quiet snobbery of the Kings Road, the V&A, dessert in Ladureé, Wagamama, the bar at The Mayfair hotel, Lola’s cupcakes, late night with girlfriends knowing that I’d either catch the last tube home, get a cab or crash on someone’s sofa, the intimate knowledge of the city yet knowing there was still so much to see and do, even the tourists that congregate outside Harrods…London has been good to me. Wonderful. And like a loyal friend, she stuck by me through everything- heartbreak, fallout with friends, job loss, pennilessness, death, happiness, the kebab shop where I got my very late dinner or very early breakfast after alighting from the night bus on the way home from a rave, bad sex, great sex, the morning walk of shame from the club to work or Uni… ahhh yes. Good times. Great memories. It was time to leave it all behind. Time to form new traditions and create new memories elsewhere.
Life in London was reaching that level of becoming just a bit too much for me, the consummate city girl, along the way the fond intimacy I shared with her gave way to a certain coldness, I got too busy with work to enjoy life in the city, I got too grumpy from so little sleep or no sleep at all and eventually, I got too damn tired and unbothered. I knew if I didn’t leave, I’d come to loathe it. My upstairs neighbours’ sex life was a bedtime story, grumpy neighbours on my floor, wayward teenagers who thought it fun to stay up until the small hours in the courtyard of my apartment block, drinking and playing really bad 90s music- Macarena…really though? Impatient and angry commuters on the tube, the noise…oh the noise. I guess I’m getting older and I’d like to think, wiser, or maybe I’m just going through my old lady days, whatever the case, I found myself getting increasingly wound up about stuff and prickly too. Working and living in London was starting to take its toll and I felt like a hamster going round and round its ferris wheel with no end in sight. And no quiet. I needed the quiet. Badly. Needed somewhere that allowed me respite from the chaos.
Sussex. Forty minutes from London, enmeshed in greenery and twenty minutes from the beach, in a nice little suburb surrounded by villages and long winding roads with modern conveniences and traditional influences. I wake up every morning to the sound of birds chirping outside my window not my neighbour yelling at one of her kids because they are late for school- I miss that though. On the train back from London, after work or meetings, somewhere between Victoria and East Croydon, the tension melts away and a pleasantness sips in. The city scape gives way to greenery and you can just hear that happy sigh…its the perfect balance.
I miss London, of course I do but now I look forward to my commute into the city, the hustle and bustle and cacophony, I enjoy a hurried working lunch, even the abysmal traffic and impatient cabbies so quintessentially London but just when it starts getting too much, I leave it all behind for the peace and quiet.
Its just perfect. Everything about it is just perfect.
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