My Secret Life in London

by P. Braithwaite

The Bestacle has this saying that he throws at me whenever I’m doing something luxurious or relaxing. If it involves me working at my own pace or doing things on my own terms, he punctuates my actions with the term, “life in London.” The saying, a West Indian phrase his mother used to throw at him when he was a kid, carries the same connotation as, “hmm..must be nice.”

My own dad, when faced with my love of relaxation, used to say I must’ve been “a queen in my other life.” Perhaps, when combined, I was the Queen of England?

That logic doesn’t work, but either way, life in London is both condemnation and judgement…splashed with a little bit of envy.

Here’s a brief example to make things clearer:

The Bestacle: What do you have to be at work today?
Me: hmmm…I’m off today, so I’ll probably wake up, read , and meditate for an hour. Then I’ll sip tea and burn incense before I start to write…
The Bestacle: Life in London, I guess.
Me: … indeed.

I truly believe our lives are works of art. For me, “London” is waking up around 7 or 8 am and spending two solid hours journaling, reading and meditating (and drifting in and out of sleep) before I officially start my day. “London” arrives through the scented candle in my living room, it also looks like the pear tree outside my window and the sun that shows off my hardwood floors. It’s an afternoon spent on a bench staring the East River, or people watching while deciding what to write.

Life in London is wherever I can find it.

Yes, there are deadlines, obligations and bills, but life in London involves the feeling that I’m dancing through my life. Time is my ally and energy is my birthright. Life in London is a life lived in “the flow.” As life here in New York City gets increasingly more intense, I find it more important to hold on to my dual citizenship. Leisure life should NOT be too separate from the day-to-day. The ability to live in London directly feeds our ability to be present with life here. Leisure and simple luxury are the tools that make us more productive. They are not merely rewards we get as a result of abusing ourselves.

So today, I celebrate and reaffirm my pseudo-citizenship in the UK. I love my life in London, and I reconnect with my ability to slow down and address my own needs.

What does “life in London” look like for you?