London and Me
by Vicki Notaro
When I handed in my notice, I fully believed that I was going to hop, skip and jump across the pond to London. Partly because I couldn’t comprehend just jacking in my brilliant career, but also partly because I thought that’s where I needed to be. Ireland was opportunity-less, or so I’d been led to believe. So therefore I must up sticks and doesn’t London have one of the brightest, most dynamic and impressive publishing industries in the world? Why wouldn’t I want to go to the land of beautiful magazines and loads of money and budgets and fabulous things?
Oz was too far away, Canada complicated, America too, and everywhere else I knew too little about to contemplate a move. I had a brief period of hysteria where I was all for the middle east, but then I remembered who I am and that I don’t fancy foreign prisons much. Ahem. #liberal.
So London it was. Not too far away, not too frightening, and thanks to a four year relationship with a Surrey native I sort of knew my way around. I set about planning a new life there, all the while knowing that a move there would mean leaving my boyfriend of six years (and roomie of four) behind at least temporarily, and eventually dragging him somewhere he didn’t want to be. The thoughts of not living with him gave me a pain in my gut and the worry about taking him away from a secure job to a place be wasn’t mad about ate at me, but he was insistent on going where I thought would be best for me, so I swallowed it, telling myself not to be ridiculous and that it was something I HAD to do. Sure what else was I going to do? It was scary, but somehow not as scary as the thoughts of trundling onwards, stuck and wondering.
Still, the whole time I was planning a move to London I was apprehensive and not quite myself. However I had told people that that’s what I was doing, and an odd pride made me think that for that reason alone I had to see it through. I couldn’t be seen to chicken out, or be made to look like a wuss and a waffler. To Irish people, those things are almost as bad as being full of yourself, the gravest cardinal sin of all.
A swift trip across the pond didn’t make me feel better about my plans, only worse. Still I stuck with them, buying myself time by telling people I was staying put til September cos I’d be MAD to go over during the Olympics. Phew, I thought. I’m so clever, now I don’t have to leave my house, boyfriend, friends and family so soon.
That’s when how ridiculous I was being really hit me, and when I realised that it might be even more brave and admirable to stay in Ireland and try and make a go of it here. Part of the attraction with London was that if things were slow to start, nobody I knew would witness it, whereas if I was here branching out on my own I’d worry I was being watched and judged and begrudged. I felt like quitting my job and staying put was voluntarily going back to square one, and that the only valid excuse for quitting one’s lovely job in a recession was to “go away”.
When I admitted this to a few good friends, they agreed that I was being ridiculous. One particularly wise pal asked me how Ireland was ever going to recover if all the good people left, appealing both to my ego and my easily pulled heart strings. I decided to listen to said heart and my gut, and ever since I admitted that I wanted to stay in Dublin and realised that this didn’t make me weak or spineless or unable to see things through, I feel happy and calm and excited about my new life and all its possibilities.
So now you know why I’m still here. I plan on freelancing for the UK as well as Ireland, and the ball is rolling on that. Not that anybody over there has been bashing my door down and begging me to work at their mag, mind. I thought I was brilliant applying for all sorts of positions I knew I could do really well, but forgot that this is the meeeeja darling, and if nobody has a breeze who you are, then you’re basically nobody. Hopefully not for long…