How vile is January? Does anyone else feel like all of a sudden every ounce of joy and happiness has just been torn from their lives in some sick post Christmas emotional burglary? Because I do. This is the first full winter I have spent in England for three years and this past week I am heavily reminded as to why I had made a vow to quietly excuse myself from the New Year uphill trek to Spring time. Everything about this time of the year is depressing, bleak and boring. Luckily I’m going skiing in Andorra on the 14th because the thought of waking up to another dull grey London sky has me digging out my old noose which I had previously tucked away after initially discovering happiness in the city.
And what’s so surprising is how quickly these blues have hit me, it’s like one second I was having a whale of a time with my family in Oxford celebrating Xmas with more food than I can shake a stick at and games of all varieties, and then I find myself bursting into tears in the gym toilets wondering what my life has come too? I mean I know I have the tendency to be over dramatic and let myself slip into an uncontrollable snowball of dread and panic, but even for me this is a rapid loss of control.
So what’s up then?
I love living in London, I really do- and I’ve written about it enough for you all to know how much I love it also. I have never felt more at home anywhere in England, the niggling sensation I felt when living in Brighton of being left out of the loop has vanished and has been replaced with an abundance of opportunity and delicious activity. However recently I am coming to a sad realization that unless you are going somewhere (in all sense of the word), that unless you a reaching for the stars and excelling in something, there is really no point in being here. If there is one thing you should know about me it’s that I have extremely high expectations for myself and my life and I intend to succeed in every way I possibly can with the ultimate goal being eternal happiness and contentment (go big or go home), however the pressure to be the best of the best here is really quite bone crushingly intimidating.
I have realised recently that without even noticing it I am slowly becoming a London rat race robot- a sensation I quite enjoyed at the start but now the novelty is wearing off and I am questioning my morals and characteristics and wondering whether this is actually me or the person I feel I should be becoming? For example- in Oxford over Christmas I was walking down the street and I full on barged into someone and carried on walking without even noticing, this person swung round to say sorry and it then occurred to me that it hadn’t even crossed my mind to apologise for that? Who was I? I know that ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘excuse me’ are not common phrases in London but had I really let my OWN standards slip after being amongst Londoners for such a short amount of time? Saying hello to dog walkers- gone. Helping old ladies with their shopping, gone. I offered a homeless man some food I’d pinched from work the other day and he turned his nose up at it and said ew no? Even the homeless people are rude! What’s going on?
And then it dawned on me the reason I’d been feeling a bit shit recently is probably because my life has no real purpose. My sudden urge to pack up all my stuff and travel is an indication to me that I am feeling as though I am failing at some portion of my life. A small itch that I feel can only be scratched by the certainty and cradling relief of a plane ticket. When I feel I am failing I instantly want to do the only thing that has ever been whole and good in my life, the only thing I can honestly say I have succeeded in that has left me in a better state than before I started. Travelling. But as always I am faced with the question of whether I am travelling for the experience of travelling because I am running from another source of discontentment that I am too chicken to face. A question I wonder if I’ll be able to answer, at least this time I’m going to try and do something about it.
I am not yet at the screaming into a pillow at 2 in the morning begging for some release of mental torture stage yet, so I am going to make use of my still-intact mental stability and squeeze the juice out of London I know is so sweet and readily available to me. Today I joined a language exchange site to finally start improving my Italian and I deleted my Facebook app (halle-fucking-lujah! Still got the messenger app tho folks don’t worry) to put a final end to my addiction of pointless scrolling. I’m also trying to constantly tell myself that now is not the time for men and boys, therefore it is actually okay if you put a little bit of weight on over Christmas and that you should not allow yourself to slip back to your calorie-cutting, crying in the supermarket and 5-bite-per-meal tendencies that are devilishly whispering your name.
The word for the first part of 2017 was ‘suffering’ the second part was ‘healing’ maybe the word for 2018 will be ‘learning’ ? A good idea.
Listen to Dermot Kennedy’s ‘After Rain’ with a big mug of tea and your January pain should ease a little bit, doctors orders.