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In the ongoing war with the neighbourhood cats who have decided to use our garden as one giant shitter, we cleared it out and sprayed sunflower oil on the grass on Sunday (cats hate getting oil on their fur apparently, they hate it).

It was a team effort of all four of us in the house, clearing up the garden, mucking it out and getting rid of the old tables etc. Somehow, despite lots of complaining and backbreaking work, it seemed to bring us closer together as housemates. Particularly when we had wine and pizza after and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire after.

It made me realise how much housemates can be a make-or-break part of enjoyable living. In the last house we never really gelled, and Hephalump Hannah spent most of her time waddling around making sure we were fleeced of as much money as possible. Here everyone is much more relaxed, the people are much nicer and the location is far more exciting.

I’m so thankful to have them, and recently it made me realise I want to do more than I have around the house to make it a more pleasant place to live. The first house I lived in London was a wonderful place too – in Turnpike Lane.

The thing is, I grew up watching Friends, and I think a large part of my generation always secretly yearned for it to be like that. Living with your best friends and lots of hanging out together having laughs. The reality reminds me of a line in the TV series ROME:

“Love doesn’t come unbidden, you have to work for her!”

It really isn’t some magical BFFs scenario, it’s working to contribute and make yourself a valued member of the house. But like so many things – friendship, career or even love – working for it makes it so much more worthwhile in the end.

I suppose in that way it’s all part of what has made London an adventure; each time I’ve moved to a new house in this city (I’ve lived in 3 over the last two years) I’ve never known anyone there. It’s just been a case of moving in and making the best of it. The same with career really. I had no job when i moved here, I just decided I’d come to London and make the best of it.

It’s like a secret light inside me on bleak days. When I feel a bit alone, when I’m down because I’ve had a bad day or had an argument with a friend, I just think back. I think about coming to London and making a job, career and housemates happen, like I always hoped they would.

Sometimes we don’t reflect enough. We’e so busy looking forward or trying to live mindfully in the present we forget to turn around and look at how far we’ve come. I’ve found there’s a power in the past. We tend to think of ‘the past’ as this negative entity full of regrets and mistakes, and believe me when i say there’s more than enough of those when I look back. But there’s also a pride in the achievements, even the times we didn’t get it quite right. We got through it, because we’re here now to reflect on it.

I once heard that you should only think of your past as training for your present.

But in every training there’s goals reached. Don’t forget to think of those too.

And find some great housemates to share them with.

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