I suffer from anxiety and the future can be scary place.
The future represents a series of unfounded fears and worst-case scenarios. My anxiety turns every tension headache into an aneurysm, every delayed plane into a catastrophic crash, and when Chris doesn't his answer his cell phone I am convinced I will never see him again. My anxiety can twist my stomach, tense my muscles, cause my ears to ring, and make me forget the simplest information. At times, I am both terrified and overwhelmed by my anxiety's physical and emotional symptoms.
I struggle to stay in the present and challenge my assumptions with what I know is the truth.
For the last 10 months, London has been my truth. London, not Paris.
Chris and I took a huge risk when I moved to London last year. We had no affection, no longing, no romantic ideals - especially Chris - about London. London was a gateway to Paris and we would tolerate London until we could find our way to Paris.
We didn't expect to fall for London.
Chris came to London last September for the first time since our honeymoon in 2007. I was apprehensive given his previous disappointment and how we spent the majority of our honeymoon eating hamburgers in our swanky hotel's lounge. But Chris came ready to embrace London and support me and a different version of our dream. I watched Chris relax in London, become a regular at "my local", negotiate rush hour on the Tube, and find his own space among 8 million Londoners.
I didn't pursue a recent opportunity that could
have lead us to Paris. It was a difficult decision and one that suggests we are loosening our grip on Paris. Or perhaps it means that we want to protect our romanticized version of Paris? Our Paris will always be for long, beautiful walks, kisses at the Eiffel Tower, and sitting for hours at Le Petit Cler.
London is an exhilarating city where almost anything seems possible. I came with no expectations. All I wanted was a chance to prove that Chris and I wanted our dream, in whatever shape, enough to risk our comfortable life together in Victoria. In the last 10 months, I have met incredible people, received unbelievable support, and had experiences that will forever change my life. London has changed both Chris and me.
I start a new, permanent job with a London university in May. My new job is the next step in bringing Chris here and establishing our life in London. This weekend I signed another year's lease on my flat and finally hung pictures on the walls. I have a London doctor and I am almost brave enough to see a London dentist.
Two weeks ago, I flew from Victoria to London. Those first 10 hours of separation from Chris are always the worst and I am grateful for British Airways' endlessly sympathetic flight attendants. As I left the plane, one of them winked at me and said, 'Welcome home."
I still don't know what the future holds. But I know Chris and I are moving in the right direction...