There’s something really disheartening about being sick of where you live. It’s not like it’s something that you can wake up one day and resolve to fix with a better attitude or a change of diet. Moving isn’t exactly a piece of cake and it’s not always an option. Towards the end of last year I was entirely fed up of London. I’ve lived in Zone 4 forever, and spent just over 2 and a half years in zone 2, so I’m a seasoned city dweller, but it seems that doesn’t always matter.
I’m not sure if it’s the sheer amount of people that walk into me everyday, or the fact there’s a queue for everything, or just how much I hate having my face pressed into a strangers chest on the tube, but I’m fairly sure I started grinding my teeth in public at the end of the last year. I also got massively upset that London is pricing out young people but that’s a whole other story.
If you saw a person silently weeping tears of anger into a Pret latte while death staring slow walking strangers in the Waterloo area before Christmas, that was me.
I got angry about pretty much anything and I started walking around like I was being made to live in some sort of hell- pretty ridiculous given I was a 25 year old working on social media in a job I really enjoy, renting a flat in Fulham and pretty much living a life of riley.
What a spoilt brat, right?
But actually, being sick of your surroundings is horrible. It’s the sort of thing that not so long ago would have made me throw money at my feelings and jet off somewhere pretty and forget about everything bothering me. For the last few months though, that hasn’t been an option. I can’t leave and I can’t spend money. I’ve had to slowly drag myself back to feeling less like a walking, talking bomb of anger, impatience and rage, to feel more like someone living in one of the most amazing cities in the world.
There’s only so long you can go on clenching your jaw every time you step on public transport and walking down streets swearing under your breath whenever anyone dare get in your way. It’s probably also not a good sign when you find yourself glaring angrily at buildings and bridges and wishing you were anywhere else but the place you live.
I do think. and I always will think, that it takes a certain kind of person to handle city life. And I mean big city life, where you queue in your tens to get on trains and touch at least fifteen people a day you would really rather not. I used to be able to handle it like a breeze, but once I let enough resentment and bad feeling in, it stuck.
Learning to love home again has been hard. I walked home from the bus stop one evening in January after a long day, with cancelled trains, pouring rain, an altercation with a woman on the tube and a headache from work and I realised how fed up I was of feeling fed up. More than anything, I just wanted to feel that happy, settled, at ease feeling you only get in a place you know like the back of your hand.
This weekend just gone I tried to fight off an epic hangover by dragging my boyfriend out in the freezing cold to head to Southbank and let me practice some photography skills. It was so cold and I’m fairly sure my fingers are still not the right colour, but walking around on crisp sunny day with no need to rush or be anywhere made me feel human about home again.
Walking over Waterloo bridge, where I took the photo of the sunset at the top of the page, made me remember the reasons I love London so much and why I’m glad I get to live here. A little more of that and I think the love affair will be firmly back on.