To Move Or Not To Move: Feeling Anxious About Change

I’ve been living in London for getting on to five years. The first year was spent in halls, desperately trying to balance food purchases and nights out on my student loan, all interspersed with standing in pissed-in lifts and finding live mice in the cooker of our Zone 1 flatshare. Year Two’s accommodation was a beautiful but freezing cold Victorian home between Archway and Finsbury Park, where we would sit in the kitchen every evening and use the oven heat for warmth. The third year involved moving further into Finsbury Park, and was tainted by a downstairs neighbour who dragged me out of my house and shouted at me one evening, along with dissertation stress and the regular commute between my home and my ex-boyfriend’s. And in the fourth year, tired of seeing drug deals and strange zombie-looking men who would walk repeatedly up and down my street every day from out of my window, I moved to West London and found a nice, safe neighbourhood full of families and dogs.

Moving here was my safety blanket. I’d had a rough year and figured it would help to be close to my friends and my boyfriend, and be able to walk home at night without stressing too much about my safety. But very quickly after the move, the boyfriend vanished, I came off my pill and I plunged head first into an incredibly stressful job. Stability, after the three years of moving around, was still unattainable. But I survived – in fact fuck that, I passed 2017 with flying colours – and this little flat, with my SpareRoom flatmates, did become a place where I felt safe, happy and comfortable.

Its never been perfect, though. I may have moved to a safer part of London, but it isn’t exactly in the heart of London culture. If I’m honest, it’s a bit boring. I think that when you swap out the areas full of interesting people for a quiet, affluent pocket of London, you may as well move to Zone 6 and become a citizen of suburbia. Which is no bad thing; many people, and I’m sure I will too one day, want that peace and quiet away from the busyness of the centre. But I’m not there yet, unfortunately for my wallet. I want to move somewhere close to all of the stuff I love doing but haven’t been doing as often since I moved here. I miss going out for drinks with my friends and not having to travel an hour to meet them. I want to meet my friends and work with them in coffee shops. I want to go to meetings and it not be a full day excursion. I want to go on nights out without worrying about the closest night tube or the cost of an Uber across London. For work and for my social life, I want to be in a different part of the city.

In addition, finding balance and peace of mind unfortunately didn’t occur in 2017, partially because of work and I think also partially because of my flat. I spent 2017 trying to keep my head above water with work, and as a result, I didn’t prioritise making my flat feel like home. Now I look at my bedroom and don’t know what to do with it. I don’t really like sleeping there, the street lights outside my window shine through and keep me awake, and my room feels vast and empty. It also contains no storage, so I somehow have to hide all my crap in a single chest of drawers. It’s a constant battle between having enough things to make the shelves look full but keeping all other things out of sight – a battle I often lose. It looks like I have loads of stuff when really there’s just nowhere to hide the not-nice-looking bits. I don’t want to buy any more furniture until – guess what – I’m a bit more settled. The next place I move might have some pieces there already, and I don’t want to end up with a gazillion wardrobes. Silly I know, but I’m not down to be Freecycling my Ikea furniture when I’m going to have to fork out £900 for a deposit in six months.

And, of course, I am still craving stability. I want a place that feels like a home, and even though this flat is the closest I’ve found to that in London, it’s still not quite there. I don’t feel as though I can settle here, in a place far away from my boyfriend and far away from the places I love and need to be in the centre of town. I don’t know if my landlord is going to hike the rent at random, I wouldn’t put it past any of them. It’s all tied up in my anxiety and mental health too. This space has been kind to me, but it doesn’t feel like mine. Right now, all I want to do is settle down with a dog and have some structure in my life, and whilst that’s definitely a pipe dream, I think the only way to get a step closer, and to improve my mental health, is to move somewhere with shorter commutes, night buses and to a place I feel more at home.

Which leads me to a dilemma: finding stability and a good environment for me is going to involve moving house – the idea of which is currently giving me intense bouts of anxiety. I went to view a place last week and for the three days beforehand, I was having heart palpitations, increased sweating… you know the deal. My anxiety was worse than it has been in months, and annoyingly, I’m going to have to get used to it as the moving process continues. This is the first time I’ve been really anxious about moving; perhaps because I’m getting older, or perhaps because it would be the first time I’d be moving without the help of my dad – probably something along those lines. Its suddenly become an overwhelmingly scary task to me, and a big part of me is thinking, “Well I could just stay here for another year and just manage like I do now.” The irony of having a dodgy brain is knowing logically that moving will help but yet it holds you back from doing the thing that you need.

So yeah, I’m going to have to learn to ignore the fear and just push ahead with what I need. Turns out that assertiveness is necessary, not only with regard to other people, but also in your relationship with your own mind. At some point this year, I will move home, and it will be a huge task. I’ll freak out about it, I’ll lose sleep over it, but ultimately it will happen, I’ll be brave and I’ll find a home for myself on the other side of London. And ultimately, I’m really excited for it.

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19 Comments

  1. January 22, 2018 / 7:29 pm

    You should move to Porto! Ihihi

  2. Laura Falkiner-Rogers
    January 22, 2018 / 7:30 pm

    I know EXACTLY how you feel! Last year I lived in 4 different flats in 3 different towns/cities, and moving that much was incredibly stressful! I’d been living in Edinburgh for 5 years, and spent a year living in a friend’s spare room, which helped me financially but didn’t feel like my space at all, then I moved in with a friend of a friend, which did help a bit. Then I moved to the Scottish Highlands for a job for the summer, and now I live by myself in Dundee. It’s weird to live an hour away from my friends and my boyfriend, and there’s lots more going on in Edinburgh, but my job is here and I love that I can afford to live by myself in Dundee. I think it’s all about deciding what’s most important to you. Although moving so much this year has been incredibly stressful, I’m finally somewhere where I feel really comfortable, and I’m growing as a person. Moving is worth the effort, I promise!

  3. January 22, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    I love how even though it terrifies you you’re going to go through with it anyway. That’s a lesson I wish I had the guts to follow as well. But it’s true, we don’t grow when we’re comfortable. Good luck Lucy!

  4. January 22, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    You got this! The worst part will be over before you know it, and soon you’ll have a cozy space that truly feels like yours. Good luck!

  5. January 22, 2018 / 9:33 pm

    I’m going through the same emotions at the moment, except mine are about moving out of the country. I’ve never lived outside of Toronto, so the thought of up and moving to Europe is terrifying, but I know that it’s a great opportunity that will teach me a lot about myself. Great post!

  6. chloe elizabeth
    January 23, 2018 / 12:15 am

    I just discovered you about a month ago, and you inspire me so much! I love your content. I am visiting Europe this summer and I’ve been having a lot of anxiety about it, but I just figured if I’m going to have anxiety about leaving here in the states, I might as well have it in a beautiful place that could change my life.

  7. January 23, 2018 / 1:01 am

    I know the feeling of knowing you have to make a change, but the thought of the process is fucking terrible. Moving absolutely sucks, I always get the worst anxiety before and during. Before you are thinking of all the things you have to do, and during you are just surrounded by all your shit wondering where it all came from. I recently have been using the mantra of ‘just do it’ to get through the paralyzing anxiety. It doesn’t always work, but it sometimes helps you get your ass in gear.

  8. Rae
    January 23, 2018 / 5:10 am

    My ultimate goal and dream is to live in London. I’m very happy for your 💖🏡

  9. January 23, 2018 / 8:25 am

    I don’t know those feelings, since I’ve never moved in my entire life, but I have to admit it’s very interesting to read about what it’s like, and the struggles and everything that comes with finding a place that is a home and not just a house. Im sure you can do it Lucy, keep faith and push through and in the end I’m certain you will be rewarded!

  10. January 23, 2018 / 12:02 pm

    I feel like you should take the plunge and move. Think of the balance of positives and negatives; if there are more negatives about your current situation, it’s time to go girl. My friend and I are about to journey into the un-predictable world that is SpareRoom. I would love for you to create a blog post or a video about your experience with it and maybe some tips? I’m scared.
    Marbl☾☽Moon

  11. January 23, 2018 / 12:18 pm

    first of all the way you have written this is honestly wonderful. It is raw and genuine and quite beautiful. Also, obviously i can’t pretend to know you as all i get is what you show in videos, however i think you will flourish wherever you are, and if moving makes you bloom faster, then it is 100% worth it <3

  12. January 23, 2018 / 3:19 pm

    I feel like you should really take the steps to moving, if being in one place is detrimental to your mental health and you are aware that leaving it behind will improve it in some way or another then there’s nothing to lose – right? (That’s ignoring the prices of rent and the deposit obviously though!) I’m moving to London in September for uni after spending my gap year in Amsterdam this year and it seems like one of the most daunting things – this post reminded me that change is important and also assured me that everyone faces these struggles with calling where they live a ‘home’. xx

  13. Hecate
    January 23, 2018 / 9:07 pm

    You told us you were struggling financially (living off your savings) and now you’re thinking about moving in a more expensive area ? Is there something I’m missing ? If money isn’t a problem anymore, it’s great !

  14. Ileana
    January 24, 2018 / 4:57 am

    Oh Lucy, I know that feeling, and actually i’ve been feeling like that since the year started. Feels like my new year start to bad, but i’m glad that I’m not the only one, you always make me feel amazing… good luck Lucy!

  15. January 24, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    I definitely understand this feeling, I moved every year at university and although I wasn’t in London, I wasn’t a fan of the instability and the responsibility of having to think and deal with all those adult-house-y things! And I was so excited to move back home after uni but it doesn’t really feel like a good home anymore. I think I’m definitely relating to these feelings but in regards to work – I really want a stable full time job in something I love (something I’m yet to discover unfortunately) but my mind is absolutely terrified and the thought of that change and responsibility (and potentially having to move) really gets my heart going and sends my brain into panic mode.

    I think a lot of people feel this way though, the thought of change is scary to a lot of people, even though we know it’s what we want and what will be good for us in the long run. I think you’ve got the right idea though, push ahead and make sure you’re comfortable with what you want and what you’re striving for and before you know it you’ll be all snug in your cosy little new place loving life in the centre of everything you need and love!

    JosieVictoriaa // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

  16. Sash
    January 24, 2018 / 3:24 pm

    Unless you´re rich and very privileged in London, people moving here have to make that choice – live in the centre either in a horrible flat that isn´t #goals and maybe in a stabby area OR move to a nicer prettier area that´s probably a bit boring. Depends on what´s more important to you and how much time you like spending on the tube I guess! I grew up in Zone 4 and all I can say is thank god for friends and their sofas after late nights out.

  17. Mora
    January 27, 2018 / 11:22 pm

    Hi Lucy. Moving always takes lots of your energy and time, but as long as you are aware thats the kind of change you need at this point in you life, its worth every bit of it! It can be hard and stressing but it will be ok in the end if youre doing it for your self. New beginnings are scary, but again, rewarding!

  18. January 31, 2018 / 2:31 pm

    Hello Lucy! I hope it all worksout well for you. Your heart is in the right place; I have no doubt that you’ll make the correct and intelligent choices. Leap of faiths are scary but you’re strong.

    Personally, despite change being renowned as scary, I love it! Years of living the same routine, being in the same place… it’s exhausting. To break routine and wake in a different place seems, to me, so refreshing. However, change can be tricky and occasionally I find myself fearing it despite wishing for it sometimes so I get you 100%. All the best, Lucy.

    – lots of love, marie

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