Finding somewhere to live in London is a rat race. Properties are snapped up within hours (or minutes!) of being listed. Sifting through listings, making appointments, and darting across the city from viewing to viewing can feel like a full-time job. And it’s shocking how much even the dumpiest of places cost. Case in point: one of my co-workers paid hundreds of dollars a month to live in a converted shed when he first moved to the city.
I’ve already written about finding my first London accommodations. Before moving I’d envisioned a terraced house on a tree-lined street with a little garden out back. But I’d just landed in England and I only had a week booked at a hostel. It wasn’t a lot of time to find a place, so my expectations weren’t terribly high. I knew I wanted to live in East London, preferably in zone 2 or 3, somewhere that felt safe, in a room that had a double bed and space for a desk. Beyond that, I knew it was going to be a compromise.
The flat I moved into was far from terrible. But it definitely wasn’t homey – there was five of us and only one bathroom, no den, and the aesthetic was very ‘college dorm.’ And I always knew it would be temporary. So with my licence set to expire at the end of September, it was time to start looking for a new flat.
While I was visiting Canada, I decided to get really clear on what I was looking for.
I know the thought of “manifesting” might make you cringe. Perhaps it summons images of stroking crystals and chanting about your desires by candlelight while doing absolutely nothing to get whatever it is you want (Jen Dziura of Get Bullish put it well when she tweeted, “Every time you try to ‘manifest’ is time someone else is learning to code, or speak Chinese, or not be an idiot.”) But hear me out, because I still think manifesting is a useful concept.
Because manifesting is about crystallizing our desires and taking positive action towards them, while allowing space for synchronicity to help us along the way.
Too often we float through life, not really thinking about what we really want. But when we voice our desires we can do what needs to be done to make them happen. And it becomes more likely that we’ll get a helping hand from those around us – and yes, perhaps even from the proverbial universe.
But back to my dream house share.
I opened my journal to a fresh page and wrote a really vivid description of where I wanted to live. But I phrased everything as if I had already found it. “I’m so happy and grateful to be living in a house that…” and a list of everything I was looking for, from the big, non-negotiables (a garden, living room, within walking distance to work and, of course, in my budget) and even a bunch of smaller, perhaps ridiculously specific details (black and white tile in the bathroom, big windows, near a canal…)
Once I’d written my list I started reading it to myself everyday. And when I began hunting for a house on SpareRoom, this list helped me stay really clear on what I was looking for even as panic about my looming move-out date started to set in.
And I found it. In fact, I ended up moving into the very first room I looked at. With the exception of hardwood floors in my bedroom, I found a house share that ticked every box on my list and has some incredible bonuses (an en suite bathroom with a tub, French windows in my bedroom looking out onto the canal, a working fireplace in the living room). All for less per month than the rent at my old flat.
I moved in a week ago last Thursday and I already feel so at home. I have two terrific housemates and I’m really enjoying settling in and planning the decor for my new room. Now I really live in that terraced house, complete with the back garden.
So is this all a big coincidence or did I really manifest my dream house share? I’ll let you be the judge of that, but what I’m certain of is the undeniable value of getting clear about what you want and then taking action to make it happen for yourself.