Last year, after nearly nine years in London, I returned to my roots. I moved back to Liverpool in a bid to find a new job, a new home and reconnect with the city I grew up in. I returned from a six week stint in South America in the December, officially moved back in with my Parents and went into serious recruitment mode; I was on a mission to find a job. But not just any job, a job I would love, a job I could focus all my attention on, a job that could offer me a long-term career path full of passion and prosperity.
But it never happened.
Jobs came up. Hard work and preparation took place. Interviews Happened. Several stages in fact. But I never quite managed to land the role. Every knock back I received was another potential pay day slipping away from me.
As time went on and employers turned me down, my bank balance shrunk, my social life starved and I once again found myself struggling.
Well, this hadn’t turned out as planned. This move was supposed to be a fresh start, a new beginning, a happier life, yet I felt lost and lonelier than I had in London. I honestly hadn’t realised it would be this hard.
Okay, so I knew I’d be a little bit lonely to begin with, because in all honesty I don’t have any close friends here in Liverpool and I couldn’t just expect to just casually plop myself into the lives of old friends as if I’d never left. And my anxiety and paranoia made it difficult for me to get to that stage anyway. But in the little fairy-tale head of mine, I really thought it would be super easy to get a job and that was all I needed – the rest would fall into place. Because a job would lead to work friends and most importantly a job = money! Money would then enable me to pay for classes such as yoga, or a gym membership, and finally start my Spanish lessons, and thus I would begin to meet people and socialise. That was my plan. I honestly imagined that by March I’d be working Monday to Friday in a killer job, with a killer team and I’d be spending my weekend’s brunching and cocktailing and taking fancy classes.
But yeah, that never happened. I was living in La La Land (unfortunately not the one with Ryan Gosling)
I could feel myself falling into a deep dark whole. By February, more than two months after my arrival, I was beyond bored, beyond lonely and beyond broke. The only thing keeping me sane was my running. I missed my London friends, I missed my independence and I realised I missed the city London itself; the hustle & bustle, the unexplained freedom it offers (not to mention the 24/7 shops on every corner where you can always get milk!)
I found myself counting down the days to the weekend and then the weekend would rock up and I would feel depressed because I had nothing to do and no one to hang out with.
Cue an emotional breakdown one Friday afternoon, during which I literally broke down ugly crying in my parent’s kitchen, sobbing hysterically over the dinner I was supposed to be cooking (and scaring both my Mum and Dad and the two dogs in the process as they rushed over to me fearing I’d sliced off a finger or something).
I decided to escape down south to my Sisters for a little while. Her baby was due and I offered to go and help out with babysitting, tea making and general Aunty duties. To get to my Sisters house from Liverpool it meant first training it to London, to then train it back out into the country. So I booked my train and the following Monday morning I left.
As I stepped off the train and onto the Euston platform, everything felt so familiar and comforting. I’d done this journey hundreds of times before, and it felt so normal, in fact for a split second I forgot what I was doing there and almost began the route to my old flat in North West London. I felt a pang of heartache and sadness when I realised I wasn’t going that way.
Tapping my way onto the tube with my bank card and hopping straight onto a train that arrived within a minute was an absolute joy having spent three months using Liverpool’s transport (which is shocking by the way, Liverpool I love you, but your transport is a joke). As I sat on the central line, people watching, I felt totally relaxed. I felt normal.
I realised that it felt like I was home.
It was hard to admit, but at this point I was wondering if I had made a mistake by moving back to Liverpool. There were so many reasons I had done it – I wanted a fresh start, I wanted to be nearer to my family, I wanted to reconnect with my home city, I wanted to make new lovely scouse friends, and I wanted to actually own my own home one day (and there were zero chances of that happening for me in London).
But being sat on that tube, watching the kafuffle of passengers getting on and off at Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street, places I had come to know and love so well, I realised that London is my home. I’d lived there nearly nine years, originally moving there in 2007 on a 15K salary, living in what can only be described as an upgraded squat in Hanwell, West London. But even back then, when I was 21, terrified, surviving on pot noodles and at one point even sharing a bedroom – I’d been happy. Because I was in London.
Realising this, I felt a bit empty, I had no idea what the next step was. I couldn’t just up and move back to London, that was financially impossible! And I didn’t want to disappoint my family after they had been so happy having me back home after all these years of living away. But I also couldn’t lie to myself, I missed London, I missed my London life and arriving in the city that day I genuinely felt like London was calling me home.
I felt totally torn and confused. And at times like that I always wish someone could just make the decision for me, or tell me what to do, or that a clear cut sign would appear.
And then it did.
A week later, as if the universe had heard my wishes, I got offered a job in London.
If that isn’t a clear cut sign, I don’t know what is.
The job is with a company I freelanced for last year, which made it even better because it felt great to know they had enjoyed having me as part of their team. And not just any job, a freakin’ awesomely cool job, one that was offering me all the things I had been looking for – a career path, responsibilities, the ability to write and plan (ahem, two of my favourite things) and the chance to be part of something new and exciting, as well as be part of an awesome team. And after being out of office life and permanent employment for soooooo long (literally 18 months!) you have no idea how desperate I am to re-join a team and an office; I quickly learnt that working home alone was never for me. And of course, the icing on the cake is that the office is in central London, yup, I’d be working in the heart of my beloved city of London.
I decided to be totally, completely, 100% selfish and accept the job.
It’s fantastic news but it hasn’t come without its hard parts. For starters, accepting the job means saying Goodbye to the pretty, cosy, cushy bedroom I’ve just spent the past three months decorating and making mine (and I won’t get anything near it’s size or niceness in London), it means saying Goodbye to living near the beach, living near the canal, living with the doggies, but above all it means no longer living with my Parents or near my family. This bit is heart-breaking, as much as they drive me mad, living with my Parents these past three months has definitely brought us closer together and I feel horrible moving back after they were so excited to have me home. But even my Mum said she could see how hard it was for me being in Liverpool, she could see I was struggling and she wanted me to accept the job. She knew it was the right thing for me.
I also felt a bit crap because it’s another failed thing to add to my growing list of failures – first my relationship, then blogging, now moving to Liverpool, yup, time to officially write it off as a big fat fail.
…but I also know that is me being my usual self-critical me who hates failing and that I just need to let that go. Because overall I’m happy. I’m super happy actually. I mean, I’m obviously nervous about the job and the move back down, but it’s an excited kind of nervous. Now that I know where I’m going and what I’m doing with my life, for the next 12 months at least, I’m really looking forward to getting started. I honestly feel like I’ve been stuck in a never ending disastrously long and depressing chapter of my life, one that started last July and is only just ending now. So I am ridiculously excited to be turning the page and starting a brand new chapter, maybe even a brand new story.
London, I’m coming Home.