Honest reflections and lessons learned from life in London.
At the end of January, I shared my story, my thoughts, and some of my fears about my move to London for three months. Now, two months in, with a few more answers and a lot more questions, I thought I’d share where I’m at and what I’ve learned.
Before I dive into some of my reflections I wanted to stop and thank you. Seriously. I’m beyond grateful for this space, where over the past 3 1/2 years, we’ve grown together. Maybe you’re new around here, if so welcome, I’m so happy we can connect. If you knew the Long Run as a running blog then kudos for sticking with me.
I’ve felt an exciting shift in the last 6-8 months in myself and this brand. I feel like I’m connecting with you on a level that I’ve always wanted to. I’m a bit of a personal growth junkie with a never ending curiosity about the wellness world. To be able to find these topics that really light me up and then be able to share what I learn together with you is so wonderful. I really do appreciate you taking the time to learn and grow with me. It’s awesome. You’re awesome. Thank you.
Lessons from London
“Oh so are you a student”
“Oh are you working here”
“Mmm not really”
“yeah I’m just here for a couple months…”
90% of my conversations with strangers in London. I figure that “Well… I’m actually a 20-something blogger who’s in a major life transition right now and I’m just trying to figure this whole thing out so I decided to take a little detour to London to get some answers but maybe mostly ask more questions… I don’t know… yeah maybe I’m a student” is a little much for the first encounter, ya know?
But since you made it here (to this blog post) I’m assuming you might be curious about a couple of the things I’ve learned on this trip.
Four Reflections from London So Far
I needed to get away to do less
I don’t think anyone needs to leave the country or take a 3 month life hiatus to learn how to do less. But I think that I did. It’s one of those lessons that I’ve learned before, and needed a bit of a refresher.
The truth is: I like have lots of margin and flexibility in my day. I like being able to work for 12 hours one day and 2 hours the next. I like to be the one calling the shots when it comes to my time.
What I tend to do instead: is overbook my time because I have a hard time saying no.
This trip has been a great reminder that flexibility helps me feel creative and energized. Removing myself from my ecosystem helped me reset my time and priorities. It’s a lot easier to say no when you’re 3,000 miles away. Being away has helped me get real comfortable and cozy with FOMO. I think I used to even have FOFOMO (fear of the fear of missing out).
I’ve learned an easy way to turn off FOMO is to get your face out of your phone (still very much a work in process for me). When you’re present in your own life, where you are is exactly where you need to be.
Practicing Being Present
This leads me to a lesson that London is teaching me over and over: the importance of practicing presence. I’m (very…very) far from a fully present enlightened being, I’m also far from where I used to be. So much of my life was lived vicariously through others, and even vicariously through my online self. I was so focused on building this brand that I kind of lost the sense of who I am without a blog, weird right?
To practice presence, I really try to pause in my day. Be where I am. I try to take mental pictures of what I see and how I feel. I stop to acknowledge how my body feels and how I’m really feeling. I get curious and I appreciate. Taking these mini mindful breaks during my day helps me feel like I’m actually living my life versus living it through a camera lens or an insta-feed. I have richer memories of moments. I really try to savor an experience before during and after rather than always wondering “what am I doing next?”
Walking is my new favorite activity
Walking has become my meditation, my therapy, my exercise, my strategy hour, my podcast savoring time and my favorite way of exploring. Obviously you don’t need to live in a city to walk, but you certainly need to walk to live in a city. On a day when I’m mostly sitting, not even trying to walk I’ll still hit 6,000-8,000 steps. On a good day I hit 20,000. Before I got here I was at 2,500 daily.
I like walking because it slows down time. It reminds me that I don’t have to rush from thing to thing in the shortest possible time. My favorite days, memories and ideas come from long walks punctuated by coffee shop stops.
One of the rookie mistakes I made the first time I was in London, was taking the underground everywhere. Yes, it’s fast and convenient and way nicer than the NYC subway 😉 but it can be a crutch. You don’t realize how close (or far) things are when you’re speeding under ground.
I’ve decided to sell my car when I get home. I’m lucky to live on a pretty small island with great bike paths. It’ll take me no more than 30 minutes to walk to town and for longer trips I can just bike. I also hate (and have lots of anxiety around) driving so the walk/bike life is definitely going to suite me better.
Coming to terms with not always needing a plan
Where all my over planners at? Giiiirl I feel you. Planning helps give a me a (false) sense of control over my life and my time. I’ve had control issues for a long time. Whether it was my body, my work or my time, I’ve wanted to feel like I’m the boss, I’m the one calling the shots. But of course, the universe is all like “nahh girl, we call the shots.”
One of my biggest sources of stress and anxiety starting this trip was feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing. And guess what? I still don’t. Not only that, but when I get home I don’t have a grand plan anymore. It was all about getting to London.
This trip has helped me come to terms with the importance of flexibility, following my gut and trusting that I don’t need to know how everything will work out, to know that it will. As a naturally goal-oriented, ambitious planner, this goes against all my instincts. I want assure my success. But it turns out that success is way more of an inside job than I ever realized.
I still don’t really know what all of this means or looks like, but I guess that’s the point. All I know is that I don’t need to plan for planning sake. A plan can be a really useful tool, but it doesn’t have to rule my life, anymore.
There’s quite a few things I’m looking forward to during this last month of London. I’m currently in an airbnb in Dalston which is in east London. It’s a quieter, less gentrified neighborhood. My space is bigger so I have less claustrophobic moments than I did in central London.
I’m visiting some family this weekend, my dad has an art show at the end of March and then my best friend is visiting the first week of April.
I’m excited to return home with a spirit of mindfulness, ok-ness with my lack of a plan, love of walking and obviously it will be so nice to be back with my best friend and boyfriend. But I feel no sense of rush because I’m truly embracing and loving each day as it comes.
- What’s something you’re looking forward to this month?