Having lunch with a friend a few weeks ago I shared an observation which I think I've said here in different ways:
"I know that I'm being really stubborn with how I'm going about trying to stay in London. I don't want to stay there by any means necessary. I want to stay on my terms!"
He replied "That's a sign you're someone who will be very successful."
"Or just someone who will be kicked out of England in a few months," I said.
Thinking on that I have come to a decision, and it's not the one I ever thought I would be making:
I think it's time to go.
It's time to embrace the fact that things are about to change and get on with it. I've invested a good lot of time into worrying, stressing and looking for ways for that not to happen... fighting circumstances I can't change. In a way parts of my life have been put on hold while I have waited for the miracle that wouldn't come. It's much more productive to take ownership of the situation, and start working to my terms with the things I can control.
It's not a decision that comes easily. I love England and I love what I've built here and what I do. I also know that if I leave things will be different. But I have also decided that that is okay, and the time is right. I'm proud (and I think justly so) of what I have built, and moving away doesn't seem like the failure it would have a year ago.
My final month can therefore be spent giving my all to making it the best month I can, both personally and professionally. I'll be recording two audio tours, to keep a record of the tours, and maybe a space open for me to step back into when I do make it back. I'll be trying to spend time with and continue to learn from all the wonderful friends and colleagues I have met here. And I'll be doing a bit more traveling around the UK and Europe and checking off some of those places I've been wanting to see but not had the chance.
It's not goodbye for ever, and I certainly intend to be back one way or another. England will always be my second home, and I still maintain I was accidentally born more English than American.
I don't know what the future will hold. And that is scary, but also a bit exciting. A lot has happened in the last 25 years, and I expect this is still just the beginning. It has been one hell of a ride, and I'm hugely greatful for all the wonderful teachers, mentors, friends, tour guests, and toileteers who have shared it with me!