Ah, London, I've loved you so. In our nearly five-year relationship I tried to make the most out of our time together, I've tried to please you in every way, but still it wasn't enough. It's got to be over.
Don't give me the "tired of London, tired of life" spiel - it's old news. If you've lived in London for a few years you will know there is no other city like this city. You will know that London is awesome, that it offers millions of possibilities and that it's the place where you can find thousands of different craft beers or foods from all over the world. You'll love it as much as I do - but chances are you might also think it's exhausting.
Having studied in London for three years and worked there for about one and a half, I have grabbed all the chances the Capital would offer me. Student events. New, random friends met after a cocktail too many in some hipsterised East London boozer. I started a food blog and got invited to events. I worked full-time and blogged part-time while trying to fit friends, loved ones and sport in. Great, right?
Well, actually, most of the United Kingdom's unhappiest households are in London. Londoners work nearly nine more hours of overtime compared to other UK cities and tube woes, zero time to meet up with the ones you love and even less time to meet someone new make everyone a little bit more emo.
It's not just a money/time/weather thing. London is a city built on fear of missing out. FOMO rules our nights out, our relationships, our friendships and our pockets. Who wants to live in Wimbledon while you can live in a box room near XOYO? And who manages to save up with so many food markets or joints begging you to taste their toasties/meat/pizza/cereal boxes? You might need to stay home and save up, but your local bar has just launched a Beyoncé night - gotta go, right? And if you have one drink too many all you need to do is eat canned soup for a week. Done.
Or your best mate might be asking you to join him/her on a night out, but you feel like you have to pull the usual: "Sounds fun, I'll let you know!" just in case something more fun comes up. I mean, come on: they should know the best way to meet up is to ask someone when they're free in the next three calendar months.
You might have a lovely S.O., but you'll have to keep swiping right on Tinder just in case you can get laid better. London basically is Tinder: you swipe right for a better house/job/partner/friend until you're so exhausted for choice that you give up. Sometimes, too much choice is no choice: that's when you end up spending your Friday night in bed in your tiny flat-share watching Netflix and thinking that you're wasting your life.
I'm leaving London not because I'm tired of it - or of life, for that matter. I'm leaving London because I'm exhausted of trying to keep spreadsheets with my expenses. I don't want to cope with people who might swipe left on me because they've found a better one-night stand. I don't want to cope with FOMO and with too much choice, so I'm trying to crowdfund my way to Sydney Uni to start another life.
Do I hate London? Hell, no. You will find no other city in the world like it. London challenged me, opened my mind up to new people and new ideas and, as a recent piece on The Times explains, working in London prepares you to every city in the world and you better grab the chance to do so in your twenties.
Still, what London needs (aside from less cut-throat job and housing markets) is to learn the art of contentment that I had back in Italy, but that I fear I've lost moving here. Being content doesn't mean not taking chances or staying still: it means knowing what makes you happy and doing it, instead of feeling you have to try all different options. Contentment is a menu with four different dishes on it, so you can avoid getting confused by too much choice. Contentment means going home for guilt-free relax instead of for self-loathing. Contentment means not actively looking for another partner or another night out while you've already given your word to somebody. In short, contentment doesn't mean being tired of life, but embracing it.
It's not me, London. It's you. Goodbye.