Tonight I looked back through Facebook to the updates and photos of when I first came to London, almost 3 years ago. There was so much optimism, so much risk, but so much anxiety too. Could I do it? Would I just end up in a dead-end job waiting tables? Would the dream just become more drudgery? Would Mr. Will fall for me? Would we live happily ever after?
It was an adventure and it was mine. I found my first editorial job. I made my first friends. I was living in a deeply un-fabulous flat, but with utterly fabulous people.
I see the mistakes and the hope. The feeling, almost student-like, that anything was possible. mixed with the realisation of someone who has already seen some of the harsher realities of the world, of failed jobs and failed dreams. But it was my London. It was 2012. It was my dream and I was making it work. There was little money but lots of lessons. there was harsh realities and new opportunities. I embraced it all, the smiles, the tears, the delicious and the disgusting.
It as all missed up in what was me and London, the longest sustained relationship I’ve managed to have. Three years and still going strong.
I look at where I am now, with my career on the up (hopefully), a clear direction and some of the most wonderful friendships I could have ever imagined. Things that three years ago I would hardly have thought possible. Then I look again. I see the friendships that are falling by the wayside because we’re drifting our separate ways, I think of the people I probably won’t see again. I think of the failed relationships. It’s a scattering of memories by the roadside I’ve walked. Trying to see the bright future but at times held back by the detritus we’ve left behind as we walk. The beautiful and the bad.
In some ways I feel like that optimistic fool again, who came to London with nothing but a case of clothes and 2 nights stay on a friend’s sofa. I look at what I want, and realise I have no idea how to make it work. I realise that at times I’m still clinging to dreams as frail and ethereal as the ones I first brought with me to London. New dreams they may be, the desire to write and create may have replaced the dream to tread boards on the stage, but they’re still just will-o-wisps, spinning in endless torment around my head, taunting me with their impossibilities and obstacles.
I see the falling friendships; people I can see drifting away because we’re losing contact or the thing we had in common which first brought us together. Do you fight for those friendships, or do you let them go? Is it better to preserve those with which you have a past, or cut them loose and focus on finding fresh connections? I’ve always been someone who values friendships highly, and I’m extremely sensitive to them. Is it right to fight for them, or just accept that sometimes, like relationships, they drift apart and end?
Coming to London has been like re-discovering myself. Parts of myself I never knew, feeling that it was OK to be who I was and to be loved for it, to not hide myself away and fake a personality I didn’t even like, It was when I started dating guys properly, embracing the freedom of a cultured city. I l looked for my career, I think I’ve started to find it. I looked for love, and I still don’t even know what it is I’m supposed to be looking for, or what it will be when I find it.
It feels like a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. The only problem being, I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to be looking for. What do you do when, looking back on the pleasure and the pain, there’s so much to be thankful for, but you’re not sure what to write in the next chapter?