Catching that London disease

You know that strange affliction that affects every employed person inside the M25? The one that causes every note and coin in your pocket, no matter how many of them you have, to decompose to dust before the end of the day? Well, I’ve got it. Heading for ‘home’** last night I dropped by the late-night M&S, knowing the local supermarket would be shut by the time I reached NW6, and bought an 800g paella*** and a one-person-sized bottle of wine. This after refilling my Oyster, stopping for a coffee fix, and buying a ticket down south earlier. Total cost of the afternoon: £71.80. When you live in London, cash has a half-life of about ninety minutes.

** Sofa-surfing at a friend’s.
*** I was hungry, OK?

Sorting out life, intense as uncut wasabi

Mission almost accomplished. This week I’ve part-sorted my next role, confirmed some other work that’d take about a day a week for some extra pocket money, and talked about a potential project in Paris that’d pay off a chunk of MBA debt. And I saw my new home.

In keeping with my year-long principle of ‘letting go’, not deliberately controlling my environment – in order to open myself up to more possibilities – I’m not going back to my own little chunk of the London property market next month. I’m going to take a step back, and share a vast house in south London with three friends. A sprawling space to kick back in, a few stops by train from central London, and a big room at the top of the house to crash. Brilliant.

Training back to Victoria after checking it out last night, the lights of the city ranged below me, I felt that same cocktail of sad-and-happy I’ve had before. This year at Warwick University really has been a great year: painful at times, but it’s taught me much cut, with plenty of laughs. The rolling green campus, its iconic Modernist buildings of University House and the Business School that make my heart soar with architectural joy … it’s been a far greater year than I ever expected.

And I got it by kicking back. Not being in control. The last ten months my timetable’s been set for me; that was the point. Handing the reins to someone else for a while had the converse effect of self-actualising me even further.

The quote that drove me to do an MBA – from ‘Batman Begins’, “You know how to fight six men. We can teach you to engage six hundred.” – still holds. I could take on an army now. More interestingly, I could build one of my own.

I think I’ll bunk off project work this afternoon and see ‘The Dark Knight’ in Leicester Square. It’d just fit somehow.