Monday, 6 December 2010

The power of attitude and the ignorance of youth

I stumbled across a bunch of old photos when I was organising my house a few months ago. Out of all the hundreds (if not thousands) of photos spanning four decades, the ones that struck me the most were those taken in London - where I lived from 1992 to 1994. Such attitude.

I was 21 years young when I booked a one-way flight to the capital of our mother country, much to the distress of my parents. It was an impulsive decision made in attempt to escape my circumstances at the time (which I don't want to get into at this stage).

I had gone to a travel agent one morning to make an enquiry, and had the ticket booked and paid for by that afternoon.

When I returned home to inform my parents of my impending departure, their concerns for me were obvious. "What are you going to do when you get there? Where are you going to live? How will you find a job?" "Isn't this a little too sudden?" "Are you prepared?" were some of the many questions fired at me.

My answers were plain and simple. "I'll get there and make it up as I go. I'll find a place to live. I'll get myself a job. I'll work it out."

Within two weeks of that conversation, I was off.

I arrived in London after having spent a fortnight in Los Angeles with my gorgeous friend Gabriella, who was studying acting in Hollywood. We had an amazing time in sunny California, which was a stark contrast to what I faced in the UK - a place and population that was cold, miserable and overly grey.

I HATED being there and invested in many tearful ISD telephone conversations with Gabri, postulating ways I could return to LA without a green card or money for an airfare. I went so far as to drink a gazillion Diet Cokes per day in order to win a trip to La-La land, but to no avail. Gabri assured me that I would fall in love with London as she had done years before.

She was right. I did fall in love.

It all began on a sunny spring day when I found a room advertised in the 'Loot' for £50 a week (all inclusive - bargain!). I turned into Waller Road in London's South East, hopeful that this might be the place I'd be calling home. I was greeted by the funkiest music my Top 40 ears had ever heard and the cheerful face of DJ-in-the-making Alan, one of the six students that occupied the quintessential London terraced house.

After a brief tour, I became the seventh roommate and my world would completely transform. It was a turning point in my life, one that has carved me into the interesting albeit quirky person I am today. If it weren't for my 'I'll be alright' attitude that partnered my youthful ignorance, I'd have never had the courage to purchase that one-way ticket in the first instance.

Yes it was all a little too sudden, and no I wasn't all that well prepared... but I did find a place to live, I got myself a job and found lots to do. I made it up as I went along and I worked things out.

Nineteen years later I find myself reflecting on the person I was back then. I'd like to borrow some of that youthful ignorance and attitude to get me through a sticking point right now. Is that appropriate or is it like a mother borrowing her young daughter's jeans? I guess it depends on the jeans. Hmm.... perhaps that's another blog post.

Until tomorrow, let the power of attitude and ignorance work for you now as it did back you know when.

Grace xx

PS. I still love London and the amazing people I met there. It'll always remain as a sacred place in my heart for all the personal growth that occurred there. If I were a butterfly, London was my chrysalis.

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