1. Turning the pub into my social-meeting hub
The pub is a quintessentially British thing, and in London pubs are as frequent as Starbucks in New York. They are open throughout the day and have all sorts of things to keep your attention. I’ve always been much more of a café person, but since making London my base I have spent way too many hours in the pub — I tend to end up here no matter the occasion or the day of the week. For dinner, snacks, pints, drinks, coffee, crumbles with custard, to play board games, watch the Premier League, sit outside, take a quiz, for birthday parties, leaving drinks and for after works and Sunday roasts, you will find me and every other Londoner at the pub around the corner.
2. Getting angry with people not following commuter etiquette
Spending two hours of my day on the tube, I developed an aversion towards any person that made my commute unsmooth and unpleasant. I saw my day slowly shrinking into commutes and an office building, and I eventually became one of the barking dogs. If you stopped in the middle of the platform when you got off the Jubilee Line at London Bridge, I would bump into you, give you a death stare, sigh loudly and think you’re an imbecile for disturbing my flow.
3. Pushing to get on the tube at rush hour
Around 9am and 6pm, it’s mayhem on the tube, and, of course, no one wants to another 2 minutes until the next train (you never know if there will be a red signal or there’s going to be a delay because there were people on the tracks in Loughton). So it’s completely acceptable to force yourself on to the train. I’ve watched people packed like sardines, standing basically at the edge of the train doors and still decided it would be a good idea to squeeze (read: forcibly push) my way in.
4. Constantly walking at high speed
You don’t stroll in London — there’s always somewhere to be, somewhere to hurry to, a meeting with a friend to run late for or a dinner reservation at a hyped Dalston restaurant given five stars by Time Out to miss. I quickly learned that walking and pondering your way through life in this city, you might as well throw yourself to the dogs (a.k.a., the Londoners with an aversion to mindfulness). People will definitely get mad at you, sigh loudly and mutter annoyingly as they rush past you and make you feel you’re less of a person because you actually take time to observe your surroundings.
5. Time managing every single hour of my day
It doesn’t look that big on the map, but London is time consuming and everywhere you go, getting there seems to eat up at least an hour of your day. Every Londoner knows this, so whenever they leave their house they know they most likely wont be able to pop by again to pick up the gym bag or change to evening attire between work and drinks. Therefore every hour of the day is used wisely — all in order to spend as little time as possible on public transport and waste those precious minutes there never seem to be much of in a bustling city of 8 million people.
My third year in London left me with a job in Chiswick, a flat in Shepherds Bush and friends spread out from Woodside Park and Golders Green in the north, to Dalston in the east and Farringdon in the city. There were days where I would squeeze in work, commutes, errands, leaving drinks for colleagues, dinner with friends in Chinatown and club nights in Dalston — all in a day.
I hardly ever stopped to enjoy the moment. As I filled my life with efficiency I was drained on energy and missed ninety per cent of the things that were actually going on around me.