It’s been 10 months since I gave up 6am alarms, sleepy snoozes up to London Bridge and cosy nights in with my friends in favour of full time life in the big city.
What’s changed? A hell of a lot.
I get to the gym less, I drink much, MUCH more wine and, actually I work a lot harder. I feel as though I’m probably pushing myself much more than I was when I was spending four sodding hours of my day getting pissed off with Southern trains’ ridiculous air conditioning and delays. Because London sort of sucks you in and drains everything out of you. It’s one of the most exciting, addictive and beautiful places I’ve ever been, and yet I despise it as much as I love it.
I moved up to London last March because I wanted to immerse myself in my career, I wanted to say yes to work drinks, I wanted to be a proper twenty-something living away from home for the first time since the squalor of uni. I wanted a cat, i wanted to come home drunk without trying to hide it and I wanted to feel like a grown-up. In reality it’s left me feeling less and less like I have a life and more like I’m here just to make a living.
I know, the poor, successful fashion journalist. Woe is me.
My weekday nights used to entail a lot of girly gym sessions, two hour conversations about murder documentaries and a lot more spontaneous plans (like, say 10pm trips to McDonalds for double cheeseburger fixes), because, hey I have my car and all my friends live five minutes away. FIVE FLIPPING MINUTES AWAY, they’re so close I can basically feel them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love London. I’m a city girl. I love the 24 hour lifestyle, the ability to never get bored and the endless possibilities, it’s an incredible place to be. But I think in all the glittering lights of London, you overlook how lonely it can be.
I live an hour and twenty minutes from the closest person that I love, and it takes me at least 45 minutes to get any further from home than Tescos (WHY does it take an age to get anywhere in London?!) And its not cool. In fact, that’s so far from cool that it’s basically Kerry Katona’s wardrobe. Sigh.
In my quest for the big golden dream job of working in fashion journalism, I have sacrificed almost everything else.
My first month of London life was one big party. I had five alcohol free days, and it quickly became apparent at just how dangerous and self-destructive living alone, without your support network can be. Was I having fun? Hell yes, but the hangovers and emotional comedowns were overwhelming and all-consuming.
What I’ve learnt is that it is incredibly hard to find time for yourself in London, to look after yourself, to sleep enough, to be a proper functioning human, especially when you work in the media industry. The longer I’m here the more invites I decline, the less wine I drink and the more I detach myself from the city lifestyle.
Am I ready to give it up? It’s something I question daily. Could I commute again? Create a life outside of London and just have it as my place if work? Or would I whimper at the lack of night buses, lack of midweek boozy dinners, lack of ambition? I like to think the former, but I’m terrified that I’m addicted to the latter.