Even after 16 years of living here, there are moments when I still feel a little thrill to call London home. It’s been the most difficult and infuriating place to live – and I feel as though I’ve lived several lives during my time here – but it’s also been fabulous fun and the place where I grew up, learned to lean into my life and came to know the true depths of my heart and soul.
London…the city I left my beloved country and family and friends for, I moved here to follow a dream. Things didn’t turn out quite how I imagined they would and what I’ve learned is; things rarely do.
I certainly didn’t expect to still be here 16 years later.
Last December I discovered something I thought was going to happen this past spring – something I’d been holding onto for over a year – wasn’t going to happen.
I waited for the waves of disappointment to wash over me when I received the news; but they never came. Instead, I felt this deep knowing that I was exactly where I was meant to be. I wanted to be on the move, but The Universe (or whatever you choose to believe in) was telling me it wasn’t time, it was more important that I remained still.
I didn’t understand why at the time yet it all makes sense now because I can see if I’d gotten what I thought I wanted, I wouldn’t have learned an important lesson I still needed to learn.
For the past four years, I’ve let June freak me out. I left my corporate career at the end of June 2013 and the anniversary always put me in a panic. Each year I start thinking I ‘should’ have achieved so much more and I’m not moving fast enough. I start looking at how far ahead I think everyone else is and comparing how far behind I think I am and I actually begin to believe I’ve missed my chance to be and do so many of the things I still want to be and do.
In the moments when those thoughts come to me, they feel painful and real. I’ve allowed those thoughts to bring me to a virtual standstill. Not just for a month, but for the better part of the remaining year.
I decided this year would be different. I decided to sink into those difficult feelings and each time I started telling myself a story about someone else being ahead or how behind I am, I also asked myself, “Why do I really feel this way?”
Because I’m always looking ahead to ‘there’ rather than being ‘here’, that’s why. I’m so busy wanting to be further ahead or somewhere else that I miss out on right now. And whilst my life is by no means perfect – as if a perfect life even exists – it is full of abundance and I’ve achieved so much even if those achievements look vastly different from how I thought they would.
Besides, there is no falling behind; what’s meant for me won’t get away and the same applies to you, too. Time is not running out and there’s more of everything on the way; more ideas, inspiration, chances and opportunities – there’s more than enough for everyone.
I also came to see the oh-so-many-mistakes I’ve made since 2013 weren’t failures that slowed me down; they too were important lessons I needed to learn. All the pieces of my life that haven’t gone to plan or the parts of who I am that aren’t exactly who I thought they’d be – they aren’t things to leave behind – they make me, me. I’m exactly who and where I’m meant to be at this moment in time.
I spent the evening of Summer Solstice with only my journal for company. I flung the windows open and turned some music on and I sat with myself and let my feelings wash over me; I felt a longing for all the things I still want to be and do but I also felt a sense of peace that only comes when you pay attention to where you are right now, rather than always looking ahead. I needed to learn this; learn how to be still and how to sit with myself and all of my feelings.
Yes, I still get restless. But I’m no longer restless because of a desire to escape my circumstances or myself. I no longer want to leave pieces of myself behind.
I make plans. The Universe laughs and changes them. And I laugh too, because its plans are always far better than anything I had in mind.
© 2018 Esther Zimmer