There is one question I have been asked over and over again in the last year: Why are you leaving London?? Living in London is the dream, I must be out of my mind, giving it all up! Don’t get me wrong, London is wonderful. It might just not be such a perfect place to live in like most people seem to think… Here is the truth about why I left London.
Tired of London
If you have been following me for a while (or at least bothered to read the short bio in my sidebar), you know I spent six years living in London. Everyone who knew me thought I would stay there forever – that’s how much I loved the city. But here’s the thing: London is for short-term living, it’s not a city for life. If you don’t want to go completely nuts, that is.
Yes, it’s amazing and beautiful and all the cool things are happening there, but it’s also busy, super fast-paced, expensive and overcrowded. We all know what Samuel Johnson once uttered about London. “If a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” Well, let me tell you something. Samuel Johnson didn’t live in the 21st century. He didn’t have a 9-6 job, didn’t spend 2+ hours commuting to work every day and probably didn’t pay astronomical amount of money for his rent either.
The Truth About Living in London
I adore London. Of course I do. I think it’s the best city in the world. But living there is exhausting. No matter what Samuel Johnson said, living in London is bloody tiring. Things are always moving, constantly. Londoners always have another place to be, another activity to do, another thing to tick off their to-do list… No one ever stops. Everyone is chasing opportunities. Yes, there are tons of opportunities in London but there are also super talented people everywhere. You can’t imagine just how competitive the city is if you have never lived there. Just to give you an idea: when I quit my job, over 70 people applied for the position. No joke.
And that’s not all. Because London is such a huge city, the air is VERY polluted despite looking clean. It’s just not healthy to be breathing London’s air your whole life. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, think about how the constant stress is affecting people’s mental health. Depression and anxiety are definitely not uncommon in London. Many people in my social circles were going to therapy – not that there’s anything wrong with therapy, it just shows that living in London is no fairy tale. (And in case you’re wondering: No, I never needed therapy myself but who knows if that would still be true ten years from now if I’d stayed. 🙂 )
Somewhere between paying for your overpriced housing and squeezing on the overcrowded tube with no air, you start asking yourself: Is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life?? Only one year into the 9-6 rat race, I thought to myself: HELL NO!
Next thing I know, I’ll be waking up when I’m 50, still chasing after a career in this mad city, realising life is passing me by and I’m not properly living it. Life is too short. I’d always dreamed of travelling the world and suddenly here I was: stuck in one place, working long hours, obediently paying bills, with barely enough holiday days for some short trips in Europe. And planning to go travelling when exactly?
Oh, that’s right, ONE DAY.
I realised I didn’t want to be one of those people whose “one days” turned to “nevers”. As much as I adored London, I didn’t want to get stuck there.
Your Dreams Can Change
I think you have dreams and goals, but just as you don’t stay the same, your dreams also change over time. It’s OK, you are allowed to change your dreams. As long as you do what makes you happy, you go and do it. It’s your life and it’s up to you how you want to live it. I used to dream of living in London and I was lucky enough to live that dream.
But London simply wasn’t making me happy anymore. It wasn’t making me unhappy either but I fell into this inevitable routine and it just no longer felt exciting. I used to think I would stay there forever, settle down and make this my home. I did make it my home, but I’ve also come to terms with the fact that this home was not permanent. Other dreams are waiting to be fulfilled now.
So there you have it. The truth about why I left London. I gave up my job, my cosy room and even my amazing cinema card, but all in all, I don’t see it as giving up. I’m moving on. That’s life.
It might be a crazy decision to go travel by myself (as people never fail to point out). Then again, I did move to a foreign country completely on my own when I was 19 – and survived. And you know what? I think if I can make it in London, I can make it anywhere. Why wouldn’t I?