If I’m being completely honest, I think I’ve cried more since I moved to London than before; before when I was stuck in a rut, in a job I felt very unhappy in, working for a man who really made me question the morals of certain individuals out there. It wasn’t a good place to be in, not entirely. And I thought that what I was working towards would be. I thought that I would move to the big city, the one I’d been pining for since graduation, and that everything would miraculously fit into place. I would be happy and fulfilled, or at least a damn sight closer to feeling it than I did stuck in the South West in my less than ideal circumstances.
But here I am, confessing that actually I’ve probably sobbed and crumbled more since I moved than…yeah, we’re dubbing it ‘before’, apparently. Like the bible timeline, but less, I don’t know, miracles. And that confession somehow feels like an admission that I’ve failed. I’m not sure you can consider it a failure, feeling a bit sad, feeling a bit lost and a lot lonely. Isn’t that what it is to be in your twenties in 2019? But still it remains that some part of me has somehow failed.
Every week, maybe sometimes every day, I go through this cycle of ‘I did it, I built this, I got here’ and by the end of the day all that pride and reaching out for some kind of contentment at succeeding at something I put my mind to just diminishes into barely anything.
Since moving I’ve struggled with the loneliness of the very real millennial reality that is flat-sharing, because apparently none of us can afford property, let alone going about it on our own. Apparently it’s just not made for that. Our society isn’t made for that.
I miss coming home and curling up with my family, even if we barely exchanged more than fifteen words to each other. I miss the hum of a home filled with unconditional love, knowing I’m safe and that, if I do want to talk to someone, they’re there. That even if I end up tucking myself away in my room, I’m not wholeheartedly alone. There is something underrated about sitting in a room with someone you love, not really talking or communicating, maybe not even partaking in the same activity, but existing together all the same. I miss that. I miss my parents and their warmth, even when they’re nagging or grumpy. I miss that hum.
(The irony isn’t lost on me that I said almost the exact opposite in my first ‘feeling lonely in your twenties post’ three years ago…)
The fact of the matter is that flat-sharing isn’t for me. You go in with the false perception that it’ll somehow resemble that first year in university where a bunch of 18-year-olds are thrown together, all in the same position, all looking to survive this exciting, weird shift in life. But in a flat-share there are less similarities, less reasons to club together and bond. Less time to do so, because we’re all in and out trying to build careers and stretch for next month’s extortionately high rent.
Sure, I expect there are plenty of people out there who become the best of friends with the people they meet through flat-sharing. But I just want to feel at home. I want to be around the people I love and who love me, but all my friends in London are kind of set.
Admittedly I also believed moving would make my relationship easier. If anything, it feels like we’ve come up against even more hurdles, even more challenges, sometimes even more heartache. It’s all worth it. We wouldn’t still be here together if it wasn’t. But it feels somehow unfair that things should be trickier right when I’ve minimised the space. Weren’t we finally meant to get our honeymoon period, the one we’d essentially been denied because we’d decided to fall in love with someone a hundred miles away?
But, in some cruel twist of fate, moving closer to the person you love can leave you open to more loneliness, because you’re moving to the place their life is carved into. Whilst all their friendship groups and family are all in one perfect whatever-mile radius, I’ve put distance between some of my own. Don’t get me wrong, it’s what I wanted. I wanted a life in London long before I found love in it. It just so happens that, hey, life isn’t fair and reaching that next milestone doesn’t always make you as happy as you’d hoped.
It’s scary, too, realising that some of the only times I don’t feel lonely is when I’m with him, next to being at work around a pretty great team of people. It builds up that dread that maybe I’ve become one of those people that becomes so consumed by their relationship, it’s all they have as an identity.
It’s my first (and, fingers crossed, only) relationship and there’s a lot they don’t tell you about being in love. It’s consuming, both in the best ways, but sometimes in ways that are more tricky to navigate.
I’ve moved away from a home that held a lot of my support network, and so a lot of that responsibility I guess has fallen on a boy who simply can’t juggle that on top of his – for lack of a better word – shit. That’s not his fault and being lonely and feeling like I’ve lost bits of myself isn’t entirely mine either. Or maybe it is, I don’t know.
I’m lonely, but I’m also doing better than I was at the time I wrote that first post. I made it to where I wanted to be; now I just have to shape and figure out the person I want to be in it.