Later this year, I’m swapping this:
I was born in London and, even though I spent most of my childhood/teenage years elsewhere, I’ve lived here for the last 20 years. It’s my home.
Back in May, my parents asked me: What do you think about us moving to Dubai? ‘You should definitely go,’ I replied. They would enjoy it there – many of their friends from London and Lagos live there now and they’d have a good life. ‘No, we mean all of us,’ said Mum. ‘Hell, no! I’m not moving there,’ I said. I Googled ‘Moving to Dubai’ and the first thing that came up was The Top 20 Reasons Not to Move to Dubai. Yup, definitely not going.
But then I started thinking about it. Seriously thinking about it. If I stayed, I would rent a (very) small flat, it would be winter, it would be cold, everyone would be involved with their husbands/wives/children/jobs. Why exactly did I want to stay when I could be in warmer weather, in a bigger home, with a gym, a pool and other luxuries?
The only thing stopping me was fear. I’d been doing the same thing for so long that doing anything different was bloody terrifying. And the moment I realised this is when I decided that I needed to go. I started asking friends about jobs in Dubai. ‘If you have a British accent, you can pretty much do any job you want.’ Righty-ho, I’ll be brushing up on that then. There are a few opportunities I’m exploring at the moment, but I’m sure things will fall into place.
A few weeks ago I started telling people that I was moving – they’ve all been shocked initially (‘You can’t leave London, you are London!’), but they get it. Twenty years in one place is a long time. In the last couple of years, I’ve been doing the same things with the same people – and now I need to do new things with different people. It’s time to go.
I miss that feeling of getting ready to go out on a weekend, knowing that anything was possible. Anything. These days my schedule is planned weeks in advance – I know who I’m going with, where I’m going, what I’m going to wear (whatever fits), what I’m going to eat and drink (too much), how I’m going to get home (not such a bad thing!). There’s no mystery, no excitement. It’s time to go.
Before you start telling me what a cow I am for complaining about my friends and my social life, let me explain that it’s not them that’s the problem. It’s me. My problem is that I’m not interested in meeting new people any more. In fact, I don’t even know how to have a conversation with someone I don’t know (as I found out last weekend). I’m comfortable in my cocoon-like existence. As long as my friends are around (or I’m around them), this is how it will be. It’s time to go.
Of course I’ll miss London, but I can always come back if it doesn’t work out. And of course I’ll miss my friends, but they’re already planning their trips to Dubai. Dubai is the kind of place where people pass through all the time. And I know this is right for me because I haven’t felt this alive in a long time.
While writing this post, I received my daily ‘note from the Universe’ (via TUT):
‘Next time you feel fear, either right after a major decision or just before one, it usually means you’re exactly where you need to be.’
I couldn’t have asked for a clearer sign, could I?
It’s time to go.