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Life in the big smoke

Thoughts like elephants balancing on a pin

In my apartment block there is a girl who always sits outside her flat with her laptop. She has a desk set up on the balcony and that seems to be where she works. No matter how early I get up in the mornings she’s there. Today London is cold and she’s wrapped up in a jacket.

I’m a bit envious of this girl. In my head she gets up at six, does yoga and then meditates for a while. Then she drinks a green smoothie and starts writing her morning pages on the balcony. When she’s done she moves onto working on her next novel. Or perhaps she works on some big commission about that year she spent living in a small cottage on a remote Scottish island. Maybe she’s writing a gonzo piece about working as a cleaner in the City.

All of these things of course say more about me than they do about anyone else and writing them down feels a bit embarrassing. But there you go. I’m comparing myself to virtuous-writer-girl because my own daily routine has been a bit messy this year. I feel like I’m lagging behind and trying to catch up. My days have been shunted forward. If we commute into the new studio at rush hour we end up stuck in traffic so on many days we sleep in and leave at ten. Then we work late, because there is no point leaving at rush hour in the evening. We come back late and the cycle repeats itself. For a morning person this is frustrating. I imagine all the people I work with noticing my emails arriving later and later each morning and a big chorus tutting “well, she gets up late”. I know this is totally irrational.

We’re planning to make a final move south of the river, to find a house or an apartment somewhere nearer the new studio. This move will happen at some point in the coming months. Before then it’s difficult to settle on a routine. I used to think I liked change, but the move is making me nervous. It will be like moving to a new city. Further away from friends and places I know.

As I was running these things over in my head a few nights ago the silliness of it all struck me. I’ve been doing that thing again where everything becomes heavy. Events in the past and the future bubble up and turn into big mountains, casting large shadows over everything else. I start putting a lot of weight on certain things, like balancing elephants on the top of a pin. Life is supposed to be light. As I laid awake that night I realised all I had to do to make things easier was to change my perspective. There is no script to follow to the letter. Most of the time no one decision or thing will cast as long a shadow as I think. Wait and see, wait and see, is all I have to tell myself. I don’t have to be perfect.

I’m working from home today. When the sun hits my balcony I’m going to take my coffee outside, close my eyes and breathe.

Image by Lauren Mancke.

Comments

Anna de Jong says:

This is beautiful. I love reading your reflections. I also get anxious when out of routine, than it escalates when I don’t know how to get it back. TI then have to force myself to slow down and focus on the content rather than the larger picture.

Lotta says:

Thank you Anna. That makes me really happy to hear. I never really know if these things I write will resonate with anyone out there. Focusing on the content instead of the larger picture is what I need to do too. One step at a time.

Josh says:

I enjoy reading your blog when it gets updated, Im 16 and live in Birmingham and ever since i visited London last year i thought “that is the place for me”. Iv still got to get through college and then hopefully i will try and get into a London University to see more of the life there. Your blogs really show a different part of London which you don’t see in videos and as a tourist, hope all goes well for you in the future anyhow.

Lotta says:

Hi Josh. Thanks for your comment! It’s nice to hear people are still reading and finding their way to this blog even though it’s been a bit neglected lately. I think I’ve been suffering from some sort of blogging stage-fright! Good luck with your studies and London plans. If there is anything you’d be interested in seeing covered here on the blog let me know.

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