London: loneliness among the crowd

Six years, I have been living in this magical city. I have transformed from a country bumpkin to somewhat of a Londoner. Food, theatres, drinks and fashion, London has so much to offer, and endless things to explore.

London, so many people, so many things to do, so diverse. Yet, it was not just once I heard someone telling me that they felt lonely. I was the same, there was a period, I felt so suffocated by the stuffiness of London: overcrowded underground, overhyped hipster culture and sky-high rental price. Me too, desired to get out of London. So many people, yet so lonely. That was the feeling. It was only until recently, I finally found my emotional anchor, and fell in love with London, head over heels again.

The Big City Mentality

It is scary in a big city like London. Going out in London is inevitable and the urges of not missing out on the latest trends are strong. Yet, your rent eats up half of your salary. One meal out is at least £30, if adding a few drinks, that’s another one tenth of your earnings gone. Despite two degrees from a reputable university, respectable career, yet still live like a student.

Artisan food, exotic drinks, temping experiences…

The Void

I was not the only one. I saw so many of my friends seeking to fill the internal void. Many Londoners rush to fill more activities in their daily life, afraid of being left behind. New spinning classes, food markets, and festivals. So empty hearted, we desperately wanted to find something or someone.

You go on multiple dates, pour your own emotions out, only to find yourself with a broken heart at a later time. Then to swear all those guys in shiny armours are bad and heartless. Yet repeat the same actions again. No wonder things like Tinder would thrive in London.

You sign up the gym, to finally trim down, but only to wallow your loneliness with more chocolate brownies.

You embrace shopping therapy, end up at Regent Street. The spur of the moment in spending brought immediate confidence, power and satisfaction.  Even though it means you would have to eat instant noodles for two weeks before your next pay cheque. Yet, you would still spend that last few quid on a cup of flat white.

You finally feel like you need to get your life, finance and health in order, trying to tell yourself this is the last burger I would eat, and the irony is you end up going through your finance in a hipster café with yet another cup of coffee.

Life sometimes seems unfair. You talk to your close friends about your problems, only to find that they too, are so engrossed in their own miseries, workload and stress. Or you find your friends not understanding your situation, and the sense of loneliness prevails.

Find your own piece of heaven

It is easy to believe you are the cause of being lonely, but really, we are all victims of the big city sink hole. Down to the root, it might not be the feeling of loneliness, but rather the feeling of not being content. So we chase for more, only to end up being exhausted.

City so vast, it is easy to lose sight of oneself. Life so busy, we often forget to love ourselves. We want to believe we have unlimited energy, time and money, but really we don’t.

In a big city, it is easy to not finding where we belong. So to feel happy and fulfilled, it is probably necessary to find our own piece of paradise.

It was only until recently, I somewhat found the solution of filling the voids. The key might be not trying to pack life with things, but to unpack.

  • Say ‘no’ to that ‘amazing party’ at some fancy roof top, and say ‘yes’ to that mug of warm camomile tea in front of the telly.
  • Instead of grabbing another Artisan sandwich, perhaps spend some time learning how to cook.
  • Connect with those who are of value to you, and remove the toxic people from your life. Even if it means you are less than nice, and just ignored that phone call completely.  (If someone makes you feel bad, then that’s someone toxic).
  • Switch yourself off, and find your piece of heaven.

So retreat, perhaps, you would find yourself alone, but never lonely again. Only after getting rid of those emotional baggage, we can start loving London again, and this time truly.

Grey dress: Willow & Grey; bag: Kate Spade; Coat: Zara; Gloves: Oliver Bonas