9 Hard Lessons You Need To Learn If You’re Going To Survive In London

Lucy Bloxham Lucy Bloxham

9 Hard Lessons You Need To Learn If You’re Going To Survive In London

*To be read in a deep-south American accent for no reason except that it’s more fun and actually quite fitting*

It ain’t easy, living down (or up…or even across depending on where you come from…) in the big smoke. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and times are only getting harder. Landan town ain’t for everyone, but hats off to y’all who try it. Even if some of you may not last the night…ok ok, a bit dramatic! But we wanted to set the scene, and setting it in the wild west sort of just happened…but London is tough. So here are some hard lessons each and every one of you need to learn if you’re going to survive it. It may not be the wild west, but try and change at Bank in rush hour and you’ll soon wish you were competing in a rodeo and challenging fellow tavern-goers to a drawl.


1. You will aways be in a hurry. And it won’t be pretty.

If you’re anything like us, when you first moved here you had images of yourself power-walking in a suit with the rest of the commuters, looking cool and keeping fit all in one. In a sort of business-rush glide across the city. In reality, yes, you power-walk in a suit with fellow commuters. But you also power-walk like a constipated penguin and arrive at work looking like you’ve ran consecutive marathons with coffee all down you and blisters on your feet the size of Russia. Not as cool as you originally thought, perhaps?


2. Money will come. And it will go. Faster than the speed of light.

Possibly the hardest lesson of all. But unless you’re working as a high class escort or pay rent fit for an ant, you will be skint. We all tell ourselves that ‘i’ll be different’. And we aren’t. And never will be. Harsh. But true. Soz.


3. Positivity is necessary.

Just. Keep. Smiling. Even if it’s through gritted teeth. Things are going to get you down. Noodles for the third night in a row? SMILE! Had to wait for three packed trains to pass until you could get on? CHEESE! Man hitting you in the back of the head with a rucksack? EAR TO EAR GRIN! It’s easy to let the little things affect you in such a big, manic city. Try not to. And even if you do stamp on that persons foot back, do it with a smile, ok? You’ll be amazed at how much easier things are.


4. You will need those special, close friends around you. No matter how independent you are.

Terrible Tinder date? Eaten too much and can’t make it all the way home so need somewhere to stop off and recover? Yep, friends are what you need indeed. And we mean the kind of friends that will wait in line with you for the 50p a bag of clothes vintage stores and pick you up in an Uber when you’ve had one too many and can’t quite read the bus stop signs. Seriously, they’re fundamental to your survival.


5. Alcohol is acceptable at anytime.

Ok, so perhaps not a ‘hard lesson’…but having two large wines at lunch and then afterwork drinks before cocktails with friends? On a Thursday? That takes stamina. And then getting up, constipated penguin power-walking and doing a full day’s work? That takes endurance, perseverance and resilience. Be prepared, it’s long and strenuous journey.


6. You may have to learn how to deal with crappy people.

stop listening
Yeh, there are crappy people everywhere. But booyyyy, there are some King Crappiest of Crapsters in London. We mean it. Of course, we understand that it’s perhaps slightly more stressful in London and thus people tend to be more on edge, making accidentally knocking into someone on the street that much worse than it would in say, the small village of Pittenweem in Fife. However, there’s no need for some of the serious overreactions we’ve witnessed during our time here. So just take a deep breath and let them do their thing. And never drop to their level (and always remember number 3).


7. Night buses will simultaneously save and destroy your life.

The Beyonce of all love-hate relationships in London…the night bus. If you’re one of the unfortunate few that the night tube does not yet benefit – or you like going on midweek mad ones – then you’ll know the night bus well. The incompatible feeling of relief and yet dread upon seeing that ‘N’ approach with a mechanical gravtias that oozes ‘I know you despise me, but you need me…mwuhahaha’. The same feeling when you take a salad in for lunch. You know it’s the right thing to do. And you hate it, and yourself, for it. But for £1.40? Who wouldn’t.


8. You will spend a lot of time underground.

Statistics show that the average worker will spend 5 weeks a year underground commuting to and from work. FIVE WEEKS. So. Depressing. Especially when the average person apparently spends only 2 weeks of their lives kissing. We know which one we’d rather, thanks. But seriously…you may think you’re ready for the black snot, dust in eyes, perpetual sweat fest that is commuting. Just run it over in your head again. And again. And again…


9. Moving here will be the best, and worst, decision you’ve ever made. But mainly the best.

Definitely the best. Sure enough, sometimes you’ll question yourself as to whether it was a good idea to come to the most expensive city in the world to follow your dream as a writer, chef, banker…particularly when you have less money than celery has purpose. But don’t let that take over you. All will be well, we promise! ?


Featured Image Credit: Instagram @shivamkumar_ph

Tags: lessons, Londoner
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