In September 2020 I moved.
House, job, city, country, community, church. Everything was uprooted as I ventured down from Glasgow to London. And all of it was set against the backdrop of one big ol’ global pandemic, numerous lockdowns, and multiple, complicated tier systems.
During the past eight months, I’ve done a lot of learning and unlearning, noting a few things I’ve learnt, pondered, noticed and understood more deeply.
Longstanding, old friendships are absolutely vital
When I moved down in September, I left my close friends and community in Glasgow. I am so grateful to those who have championed me from afar, have sent me wee cards or gifts in the post (“just because”) and have been overall 10/10 excellent friends. Moving at any time can be really tough, but having people who are reliable, fun or just a phone call/voicenote away has made such a difference.
Establishing new friendships is key to feeling rooted
I’ve realised that one of my favourite pastimes is making new pals and getting to know/laugh with/cry with other people. I know that when I start to be present with those around me, to gently prioritise the potential new friendships right in front of me or give my time towards people I do not know I start to feel more rooted and grounded. (For sure this has been harder but opportunities for relationships are everywhere – be that with new neighbours, fellow lodgers/housemates, work colleagues, church members or friends of friends. You just gotta have a look and give it a go!)
Old habits don’t die with new surroundings
There are a number of habits I thought I might shake off (lol) through a) living in a pandemic and b) living a new city. Neither of those things made a difference. I still have a tendency to burn the candle at both ends. I still have a tendency to be late for social occasions. I still stay up too late scrolling through Instagram. These are just a few of the many many many old habits that I haven’t quite sorted.
New habits do grow if prioritised
While this statement is obvious and logical, I’ve not believed in it for myself. Routine has been incredibly good for me. I’ve learnt to prioritise a few things more: morning prayer, weekly self-care evenings, monthly deep cleaning/decluttering. Living through a pandemic in a new place has provided me with both a change of scene and a space to try new rhythms. I have to say – I’m a fan of routine now (and I honestly never thought I’d be that kinda gal).
God is present in the mundane
I think I’ve often thought of God concocting a grand plan for my life. In the past I’ve been very forward-focused, vision-oriented and future-centred. Before this pandemic and move, I was often praying about the ‘next step’, asking for discernment from God on this big, unravelling, abstract picture called ‘my life’. Since moving I’ve been struck by how much God shows up in the small, mundane moments – be that a client’s chuckle over the phone, a houseplant growing new shoots or in my wee daily prayers. Life isn’t always exciting and new and vision-y. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less adventurous or fun.
So all in all – I’m grateful. Grateful to know such wonderful people. Grateful to explore new places. And grateful to see little snippets of growth in myself and others.