With orientation sessions and induction ceremonies, Monday marked the start of my life regaining some semblance of structure.
I think I enjoyed the two-month hiatus from any and all planned activities, but for those of you who don’t know me as well I am a very social and over-involved type-A routine-driven person. Consequently, not having any plans for eight weeks was surprisingly debilitating for me, especially because I found myself in a cultured, diverse, and very large city and I felt like I had to experience literally everything London had to offer but had way too many places to start. (Rough life, right? 😉 )
Thanks in part to my pretentious drive to be involved in too many things at once, it took me much longer than it should have to accept that it’s unrealistic to plan to participate in even a quarter of the activities happening each day in London. You’re lucky to make it to one or two. Maybe three, on a good day. And that’s okay. The “it’s okay” part is where I struggled most, but didn’t realize I was struggling until one of my orientation sessions for school this week. The very wise and welcoming chaplain on campus, Jenny from Australia, presented a lovely session on London and the local area around campus. She was informative and entertaining, but for all the relevant information she shared the thing that stuck with me most was her assurance that I’m not going to do everything, and that’s okay.
Prior to Jenny’s revelation (thankfully!), I was able to move past my physical debilitation and have experienced and appreciated London as much as possible during my sabbatical. But it wasn’t until her comment that I realized I was still feeling guilty for not doing more, seeing more, traveling, eating, smelling, visiting more around my vibrant city.
With her three simple words, she helped me to reflect and realize that just because I moved from the US to London doesn’t mean I’m on a permanent vacation. I need a normal life too. I’m allowed to sit at home on a Friday because I need to do some schoolwork. The world will continue spinning if I don’t make it to the popup food market in Brixton on Tuesday. I don’t have to feel guilty for not trying to pursue everything. It’s okay.
Takeaway Tidbit: Take advantage of all the opportunities to experience life in London, but remember that it’s okay to have some down time too 🙂