Living in London as a single person is the easiest. Why? Because this group is not the minority. Here being single is normal- almost expected. A buggy on the tube is not as common (except maybe at the weekend around the Natural History Museum). London very much exists on a different parallel to the rest of the country. The rest of the country is full of engaged women/ women expecting/women with all of it. But in London you can be free of any pressures. You can explore yourself and the city and grow with it. In fact you are sometimes forced to live with other single people (or couples) to be able to actually live. The good thing is that you have many choices to go out and learn, to experience and get to know people. However here is the difficult part. How to find that one girl who would go out with you to explore (something I used to struggle to achieve). All you can see and hear is the dating sites and how to get a guy. It’s everywhere but finding a friend is another story.
But luckily I was attracting single people like magnets. This is the force of nature. When you are in a relationship you go on double dates and trips and you love it! When you become single you fall out from this system and your social group changes. How to fit in and find your place again? Not as easy as it seems.
The more people I meet the more I realise that everybody has a story. And they are in different status e.g. happy to be alone or at least learnt how to be happy alone or, broken and in agony, lost, hurt and anywhere else in between. There is a common thing though regardless how bad or good they feel, usually their hearts were broken at some point and they all have a story. When you learn how to listen again you hear these stories and suddenly you feel better. Why? Because it makes you think. Human nature is tricky and we tend to feel better when someone has a worse story than ours, how bad is that?! But our empathy kicks in and we want to help. However we forget to feel sorry for ourselves. My nanny told me once that if everybody put their pain and problems in a bag and they put their bag in front of the door to swap, people would straight away take their own ones back. (She was old and wise and amazing.)
Time helps and you start to open up and see the bigger scheme and realise that the meaning of life is so much bigger and even though our story is huge and painful and it almost killed us, when you look at the bigger scheme you realise that you are really lucky with what you do have and you start to appreciate that. Your pain begins to shrink away. You appreciate everything you have. Your family, friends, job, any belongings you have but mainly the fact that you can still have someone to call…. Make sure you call though and you don’t close in. Open up and go out and concentrate on others a little bit. Then start to rethink your future. It is your life and you are the only one who can change it. You can waste it and you can make the most of it. You are in charge, you always have been. Now you have the time, power to shape it and direct it. This is your chance to be yourself. As a clever man once said: everybody else is taken.
(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)
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