I had lunch with a girl today that I hadn’t seen for a few years. She was actually one of my first acquaintances after coming to London – a brilliant artist with a stunning personality. Meeting her during my first time in London was a gift. However, for some reason we lost contact (although in this day in age you never really lose contact with anyone due to social media).
After starting this blog and sharing the news I have been blessed with hearing from old and new friends, but especially people I haven’t spoken to for years. It has been such a fantastic experience and everyone has been so incredibly positive about this little venture of mine – so thank you! The friend I met up with today was one of these people.
It turns out that during these last years she has gone through quite a lot of pain and suffering. She got married to a lovely man that turned out to be struggling with challenges bigger than what he has been capable of handling. As a result, she has put up with daily negativity and rejection adding to which she has been the victim of heart breaking stories. Recently she left her husband and has consciously taken life into own hands. She is crashing at a friend’s place at the moment and is trying to figure out where to go from here. She is starting over.
Seeing her today – so strong, brave and full of positive energy while telling her story – reminded me of my own adventure and especially of my first few months in London.
I moved to London about 3,5 years ago as a result of a nasty breakup and the urge to get away from the settled life I desperately wanted to live, but found I had never been further away from achieving. I had been the spectator of my life falling apart for quite a few months at the time, so the chance I took by moving countries didn’t actually seem that crazy or even that challenging (although everyone seemed incredibly impressed by my decision). Yes, I was worried about the outcome, but in the end I just did it. Little did I know that this move would end up changing everything.
When I first came to London I stayed with my older sister and her family in a gorgeous little town about a 40-minute train ride from the city centre. I would get up in the morning, buy my train & tube ticket and spend the rest of the day roaming the streets of London, trying to figure out how everything was connected, which parts of the city I liked more and hanging out with Mr. Google during meals to find a job and some sort of living arrangement for myself.
I’m not going to lie – these weeks were hard-core! First of all it dawned on me that rent was going to gobble up pretty much all the money I had for survival each month. Secondly, I realised that getting a job in London was extremely up hill when London is not already on your resume and you have no contacts that can help you out. Last, but not least, I often felt that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
Every night I would come back to my sister’s place and either catch up with her and her husband in the kitchen or sneak straight into bed (the bottom bunk of my 7-year-old nieces bunk bed to be precise), ready for what the next day had to offer.
About a week into my struggles I came home rather late one night and snuck into bed, conscious that I shouldn’t wake up my niece while doing so. As I lay there under the duvet it suddenly hit me that I couldn’t stay in this bottom bunk forever. My situation was unexpectedly very clear to me: I was 31, single, homeless, jobless and planning a life that would have me pretty much broke by the beginning of each month. Things could hardly get any worse.
Then I started laughing. I laughed and laughed to a degree that I was sure I would end up waking up my niece. Tears were streaming down my face. I was happy! Never had life been more exciting. Never before had I had so many options. I felt so alive! I was dancing in the rain.
That night was my turning point. I had successfully managed to switch my way of thinking – I was focusing on the positive and could feel deep down inside that this move was going to be one of the the best things I had ever done for myself.
Truth be told, several times after this night I had the feeling of everything seeming hopeless, but then I would remind myself of how far I had come and how lucky I was. Suddenly all the pieces started falling into place and I have not looked back since.
One of my best exercies during this time, was reminding myself of what I had to be grateful for: Every night before I closed my eyes, I would write down a minimum of three things I was grateful for. It didn’t have to be massive things. It could be something as simple as:
- A stranger smiled at me in the supermarket
- The sun was shining today
- My favourite song played on the radio
Try it. It might seem silly at first (maybe even hard), but one day you will find this exercise easier and you might come up with five things, seven things or even ten things you are grateful for. All of a sudden you will notice positives all through the day and the times of darkness will seem far away. Trust me.
If you’d like to know more about what positive thoughts can do for you, have a look at this post: Positivity vs. Negativity