Today’s post is going to be a lot less structured: it will be like a casual chat with no focused topic. Bear with me ok?
If you were waiting for my weekly blog post last week, I apologise for not posting anything. If you happen to be subscribed to Aida Azlin’s videos and newsletters, you would know that I have been in London for the past 2 weeks and will be here for quite some time. I’ve been pretty occupied with household chores and taking care of my guests plus myself while I’m here. Back in Malaysia, there’s help at home but over here I am the help so it means less leisurely time for me.
The wiFi at my apartment is unstable so I haven’t had the chance to work on anything properly because the signal keeps going on and off. That aside, my stay here has been cathartic so far. I’m not spending as much time on my gadgets, my insomnia has disappeared, my anxiety levels are stable and I’ve been doing a good amount of reading, writing and reflecting. Alhamdullilah.
Since I graduated 5 years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long), I’ve been coming to London annually although I’ve never stayed here for more than 10 days at a time. This year, given some of the things that have taken place in my life, I decided to extend that break.
I’ve friends that are crazy over London and to be honest, I’ve never understood their craze because I’m still scarred from the stress of uni assignments and the anxiety attacks I had while I was studying here. True story!
I love London, sure, but I’m sure you guys know just how much I love Cairo, too, perhaps even more. This year, for some odd reason, my heart loves everything about London and I’m grateful for the chance to be here again. I’ve also been reunited with my dear friend Aida.
Here’s the crazy fact about us: every time we meet, it’s in a different country. We have met in Singapore, Johor Bahru, Cairo, Tangier and London. That’s 5 cities in 5 different countries! Sometimes we joke and ask each other: I wonder which country we’ll meet in next?
Aida adores London especially during this time of the year. I never quite appreciated London or England in general when I was based here. I was always caught up in uni assignments or struggling to keep my depression and anxiety under control. A lot of people, especially those who live in tropical regions, romanticise living in a cold country but winter means less sunlight and less sunlight means long hours of cold and darkness. You’re not in the mood to do anything other than sleep when it’s dark.
I’m not trying to depress anyone here, I’m just letting you guys know the other side of the joyful winter/fall posts you see on Instagram. Heck, some people may even be envious that people get to travel to cold countries but just like everything in life, there’s always a catch, sweetheart. Little sunlight paired with bitter cold rains is an awful atmosphere for people living with depression or struggling with anything. Although I no longer suffer from depression, I do remember the days when I was and I remembered how I felt walking down the streets in Kent, an hour away from London, back where I was studying.
Fast forward to this day: the cold and gloominess isn’t depressing. I’m able to appreciate the lack of sun somehow. I can appreciate the naked trees, the constant grey skies and my skin needing extra layers of lotion from the dry air. I never used to notice just how pretty the Christmas decorations around London were during this time of the year. Everyone’s so excited for Christmas and although I don’t celebrate it, one can’t help but feel the joy of any festive occasion.
If there’s one major reflection I’ve made while I’m here so far, it’s that whatever is bringing you down today, could be a source of joy for you tomorrow. Or perhaps, you’ll grow to be indifferent to the struggles you have now. Months and years down the line—both the people and places in our lives hold different meanings to us. Don’t be so sure that something or someone will always have such a huge effect on you because time changes everything.
People change. Places change. We change, too, and drastically.
Like the leaves that change from luscious green to golden yellow and eventually drop to the ground, we, too, will go through all kinds of transformations until we die and become part of the earth. Until then, know that personal growth can be an uncomfortable experience and sometimes it comes with a bit of pain and anguish.
But discomfort is only ever temporary and it’s a sign that you’re transforming with the seasons.