"I like the spirit of this great London which I feel around me. Who but a coward would pass his whole life in hamlets; and for ever abandon his faculties to the eating rust of obscurity?"
- Charlotte Brontë
I remember standing on the platform waiting for my tube to come and looking around, trying to take it all in. I knew I would miss it all, even the parts I had grown tired of, or learnt to dislike - the polluted air, busy tube stations, grey skies. As I stood there consciously taking in every detail of that moment, I practiced mindfulness (a technique I had yet to learn) and tried to be completely present, aware that my choice to go back home and be with the family I so missed, would always be haunted by these memories. And it was, for a whole year I would dream of London. It would take many more before it was truly out of my system and a good twenty years before I would return. Now, I feel I have completed the circle. Things are very different though. I am not the young woman who used to so confidently walk around these vibrant streets. I am so much older, a mother, and not the career hungry employee I used to be. Different moons orbit me. Different desires run through my veins. And it has taken me a while, but I am more aware now of who I am and what matters most. I want different things now then I did then and my needs are far greater.
London was meant to be a pit stop for a week - a brief holiday of restaurants, shows and shops before moving on to the destination we had planned and the life we had envisioned living. But, as usual life has other plans. Covaid-19 came and changed everything. The world is no longer ours to live freely in. It is frustrating as it took us so long to decide what we really wanted and get everything on track and when we finally did, a pandemic hit the world. If this was a book, I would think the plot rather corny, but as they say fact is stranger then fiction and you can’t make these kinds of things up. It is all surreal.
So we are here now. Stuck really. In limbo. Isolating. I have to believe it is God’s will. That no matter how off course I may feel, (and goodness I have felt that many times over the years), that it will all work out in the end - maybe not in the way I planned, or would have chosen, but perhaps in a better way, with blessings and opportunities I could not have foreseen. And so as I walk through the streets of this city I so loved, I start to remember the feel of her. I look up at the beautiful old stone buildings and listen to the stories they tell. It is easier to listen now, as the streets are so quiet. But even without people, London is alive. The energy is electrifying. It always makes me feel creative and that I have a purpose. So, for now, this is where the next phase of my journey begins. And it is not such a bad place to begin a story, is it?