This weekend, I celebrated my first month being in London. Threw a party at my house on Friday night and had a ball of a time. But really, watching my friends having so much fun, even though many of them were meeting each other for the first time, made me very happy. All of this despite the obligatory waking up the next day, hungover, aching, entering a kitchen full of dirty dishes and empty wine bottles scattered all over.
People don't really know what exactly I'm doing in London. So I will just clarify things: I'm here doing a full time post-graduate course and (supposedly) looking for opportunities. I go to class twice a week but I'm always mentally drained by the time class ends, on top of the additional work we have to do when we have on average 3 presentations a week. I've been really lucky since being here. I never like saying lucky but here I am using the word. Simply because I cannot emphasise how much I wasn't expecting to be enjoying my time here in London that quickly even though I have friends here and I've always loved this city. I came here with suitcases full of clothes, emotional baggage and fear. And right now to be honest, I feel too comfortable here. And it is worrying me. Not that being comfortable or happy is a bad thing. But I need to make the best out of my best time rather than just having too much fun. That Friday night at my house party made me realise how little I have done in the one month I've been here, not in the sense of 'exploring' but in 'connecting' and making opportunities for myself. It also made me realise how quickly time passed and how we are already (?!) at March. Oh my god, slow down 2015!
Going into the unknown is never easy. I finished my BA at school last May and it's been about 10 months. These past 10 months, I chose not to get a job, or to start looking. I chose to take a break, enjoy myself and see where life would take me. It was an undefined time of questions and emotional roller coaster rides but I am so glad I did it. My time here in London is the same. I may be at school but I know that my main purpose of being here is about where my future, or my entire life will go on from here so everyday still feels like going into the unknown. During these past 10 months, I've been through the whole thing where my family and friends were constantly putting a lot of pressure on me to do something. But guess what, it was also one of the best times of my life. I travelled a lot, and engaged myself with a lot of projects, caught up with so many friends and honestly just gave myself a good break. I've been getting a lot of emails about this lately, so this post couldn't have come at more perfect timing.
I believe we should all take breaks in life. So while you take this time to wander/wonder, you'll be asking yourself a lot of questions like I did. And you'll start defining this time of uncertainty with your current circumstances. It's a lot of ups and downs so I thought I would share how I got by during this 'in-between'.
Be your own best friend- A lot of people see this time of the unknown as unworthiness, good for nothing, time wasting..but it's really a time to take a break, and reflect on the chapter you've just closed and the one you are about to begin. Use this time to realise who you are and what you want. Start by being your own best friend. You have nothing to lose.
Pick yourself up and start over- A day without plans can make you feel like a complete failure at times. Even for me when I was seeking opportunities last year, email after email without any reply. It was extremely hard to pick myself up again and have the courage to continue sending more emails, to constantly have to put myself out there... but I did it and managed to get myself some work experience during my holiday in London last September. Instead of swimming in fear and feeling discouraged, invest your time in doing more research, talking to your peers or mentors, and most importantly, spending your time in things that matter to you like your friends or family. This could mean spending the day working your ass off in the kitchen to cook your them a meal. Allow yourself time to take a break even when you're working on the next steps. Then you start over. There is no use in worrying. It only encourages more negativity and makes you not want to do anything.
You are blessed to be stressed- I went through plenty of days feeling like crap and a total failure but also days where I felt like I was doing a lot of things. I like planning my week with goals of what I hope to achieve for the week. I would also engage myself in small projects like helping friends out with freelance design work. Or keeping myself busy working on a couple of things for the blog. I also make the effort to do things I never usually do like planning a trip to the zoo just for fun. It also made me work harder on Eat.Plate.Love so that was how I supported myself during this time. We all become a lot more sensitive to our surroundings during this time of what I like to call, going on a life safari. So it is the best time to take note of things about yourself you never noticed before. What do you want to improve? Where do you want to be 5 years from now? Also, never take your days for granted. See each day as a new opportunity to do something, even if it is nothing. If you feel like you didn't have a productive one, look out for the small things that are blessings in disguise. At the end of the day, just feel grateful to be alive.
Always be your best- Use this time to go crazy and DREAM. I loved taking long naps but what it was I enjoyed the most was lying in bed, closing my eyes and visualising everything I wanted and manifesting in those feelings. I also constantly went on long walks by myself with my favourite feel-good music plugged in. It made me feel energised, empowered and ready for new beginnings. London is a brand new beginning for me and everyday is a step to making some of these dreams happen. 'We may be afraid of the uncertainties the future holds but we must never let our fear to be as strong as our courage to start again.' (Quote I got from I am Malala in her book) Writing this has been a timely reminder to start getting myself out there and making things happen rather than being so comfortable in my circle of friends and my weekly routines.
I've been wanting to do a post like this in awhile as part of the new directions I hoped for Missingavenue. Let me know what you think and I would love to share more. The purpose of this blog is not only for me to just document but also, I would love for it to be a platform that would make an impact on the people reading this. Let's start a conversation and make this something! I hope this post will encourage you to wonder and wander. Thanks for reading.
Photos shot by Franz Navarrete, wearing Free People