The choices you must make in London; liberating or complex?

Every so often, a nation is tasked with the responsibility of making a choice that will alter the course of its citizens’ lives. This choice will routinely be subject to the approval of several social and legal authorities.

It will be discussed by the men and women alike, in hushed whispers and at public declarations. In some instances it will polarise society and pit different parties against each other. Debates about this choice will be heated, both openly and in people’s hearts; its significance always magnified by the media.

And for Britain, this choice is embodied in the upcoming Referendum that will determine whether the country leaves or remains in the European Union.

It is, however, fascinating that from the streets of trendy Shoreditch, the ever busy London Underground, the quiet countryside, to the cosmopolitan suburbs, the 23rd June Referendum isn’t the trending topic of discussion.

As key a decision as it is, the fact that Londoners especially must make numerous choices every day, most of which determine their quality of life or personal satisfaction means the Referendum can, and indeed must, go on the back burner for now.

Daily, anyone in London is bombarded with numerous options for literally everything you would ever need or want in life. You will always find a ‘grass is greener’ option for anything and the competition for your attention along with a share of your time and purse strings are insurmountable.

Will I run, cycle, walk, get the train, a bus or drive to work? Will I have cereal, sandwich or a full English for breakfast? Will it be McDonalds, Nandos, Pret or the nearest pâtisserie? If I fancy myself to be a lucky duck, will it be boxing, football, horse racing, rugby or cricket that I bet on? Even after you decide, the options one would have after settling on one sport are countless.

Will I live in zone 1, 3 or 5? Sure London is a better option, because let’s face it - that’s where all the action is. But then come to think of it there is a down side; the skyrocketing rent prices. Essex, maybe even Hertfordshire is cheaper, but it’s an hour’s train ride from the office and a taxi ride back there after a late dinner with friends or a late meeting will be a small fortune.

And then there is shopping! Do you shop online or instore? Will they be designer or high-street clothes? Accessories for your new bathroom, furniture for your new home, a new laptop, a new TV. Will it be Netflix or Amazon Prime? The list of choices you must make every day goes on and on and the London weather doesn't make it easier. One hour it is hot and the next is raining? Do I wear a jacket, carry an umbrella or throw on my gloves and a winter coat?

Because of the sheer volume of choice, in my opinion, Londoners and of course the rest of the UK have become expert decision makers!

In the blink of an eye, the average Brit will decide whether their next holiday will be in Cuba or India, whether it will be Chinese or Italian for lunch or whether the old couch needs to go. I'm still stunned when I see home appliances, clothes and furniture strewn unwanted on the streets.

While #Brexit might not be the most urgent choice that needs to be made, it sits heavy on the hearts of many and while most people I know have chosen to keep their opinions and beliefs a well-guarded secret, their choice will centre around one premise. Will it make my life easier, more comfortable and better?

I have recently learnt that keeping your backpack on while on the train is frowned upon by commuters. This is a choice I have made repeatedly since I first arrived in London and honestly, I might just continue making the same choice. After all, it makes my life easier!

David Karega

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search