My husband and I’s decision to move to London from Ghana was contributed to by so many different factors and wasn’t just a matter of seeking greater opportunity than what we would have had in the motherland. In fact, we could very easily have created our life together in Ghana or in any one of a number of other locations for that matter, but to be honest, London came in as the final choice because of how cosmopolitan it is.
Also, we sort of fell into choosing London as it became more and more apparent that it would indeed be the best choice for us.
The dynamics of actually living in London are slightly different to experiencing the city and the Greater London area as a student, a visitor or a working commuter, for example, with a lot of little nuances that come to the fore. One such nuance is that of the rather dynamic definition of what a Londoner is.
I mean we have some friends we met a really long time ago who grew up in London, spent their entire lives here and still live here, albeit a few blocks away from home. Even some of these peeps could never really tell you with the greatest conviction what they feel it means to be a Londoner – a true Londoner. I mean what is London culture, for example? If a Londoner goes to Manchester or Leeds for example, what exactly would set them apart and make them stick out as someone who hails from London?
Generally, I don’t like to bring my profession into the discussions I have outside of the office and away from the “field,” but my work is so closely tied in with the average life of the average person that it’s almost impossible. Anyway, what I always find is that people are often not too content with how their lives are seemingly playing out because they’re torn between trying to find a place to belong and letting their own individualism shine through.
I think that’s where the problem lies really – people are trying to subject themselves to having to make a choice between one over the other and that’s not how it should be. Instead of trying to choose between trying to find a place to belong and expressing your own individualism, one should rather seek to strike a balance between the two.
I mean it is indeed great to know that there are a group of people whom you can count on based on the fact that you share some common interests, hopes for the future and perhaps even financial goals, but at the same time, you should be able to express your own individualism within that context. That’s why my husband and I have friends (and even family) from all walks of life, all colours and all creeds.
There is no greater place to belong to than that which holds open ideals which are carved out of people’s genuine desire to progress together as opposed to belonging to a place based on a trait you physically possess by default.