I’m about to leave. It’s a very exciting time, one that feels triumphant, nostalgic, hopeful, and also has an eye to the future. Wondering when I’ll come back exactly.
I love France. I’m about to go live there, again, and this time work as a professional. My contract is for a year, and so far I think there’s every indication it may well be renewed. I could perhaps stay in France indefinitely, and yet…
I am, as always, just about settled in to where I am now just as it’s time to leave. Time to leave the beginnings of a routine and the newfound feeling of community and being well-adjusted to my circumstances to start a new adventure. One that I have desired more than so many other things, one that I thought was the only key to my happiness.
I know now I was wrong. Paris was not the only thing in the world that could make me happy- many other things have. And yet, I do think that gaining the opportunity to come, and to live there and may be even decide to reside there for a long time, is part of my Personal Legend.
Yet even before I leave, I realize: there’s no where to go.
I am always with myself. France is an awesome backdrop, but ultimately it’s me who decides whether I will be happy or not. Environment is a huge key, and there are certain adventures in France I couldn’t have in the US. There are so many cities I’ve never visited that call out to me, so many sites to see, and a way of life and thinking and beautiful language that resonate deep in my soul…and yet–
What am I really looking for? A long vacation? An experience? Yes.
But what is my heart screaming for, bursting for, making its will known so loud and clear, even though it just faintly whispers? I feel it, whether I dare to name it or not.
The feeling is not an emptiness, it’s not a lack. But it is a profound realization of the limitations of my independence, of just how much I can’t do alone just as I am about to go on another independent, heroic, leavetaking and adventure.
My heart screams for love.
For that one force which would make me less than entirely self sufficient. For the thing that makes even castles seem dry, and which makes the pyramids crumble into dust. A proud civilization, a long and mighty tradition- me, myself, and I- just gone, in a heartbeat.
But I have to go to France, where love may or may not find me, I have to be alone- to experience where love is not. I have to miss him, so that I’ll know when I’ve found his hand to hold. I have to miss him this much, because so much will be required of me.
Paris, pyramids, castles in Prague- they are empty without love. I will tremble in wonder, my soul will thrill to the subtlety and grandeur of existence, my heart will ache with the mystery and romance of the past, of the lands yet to be explored. And yet-
Even though I’m the most kick butt independent woman in the world, the ambitious MBA, the lone explorer, the solitary wanderer- I realize the kingdom I most yearn for is not my own, but to find someone’s to share.
A lover and best friend I can’t hide from.
A fellow wanderer, conspirator, conqueror, adventurer, hero-
I am Penelope, waiting for Odyseus by the loom, except that the tales that I spin are my own, the yarns are dyed with the richness of my first-hand experience. And I am also Odyseus, circling the world, in search of his love, yet carried away by adventures beyond his understanding or control, and always missing her in spite of them.
Love requires absence, it means that there is someone you are missing in spite of it all.
So much to see, and all I want is someone to share it with.
And sometimes, secretly, I just want to retire, not to the suburbs, but to the warmth of his gaze, and sit on his knee, and watch our favorite tv show in the evening, to rise in the morning to go sit in an office and do work for a while, and then come home to do it again. Maybe I’ll read a French novel while he watches baseball, but still-
Wherever you go, there you are.
I’m so afraid to give up the world for my love, to give up my independence, and to lose my attitude of nonchalance, but I hope that in finding love, I will find a whole new world, a companion, the most loyal and sweet of friends, and someone to enjoy throughout it all.
Wherever you go, there you are, and that’s just what I feel right now.
So there’s nowhere to go, where I can escape myself, my real feelings. There’s no excitement so profound, no deed so mighty, nothing that can be consumed that can compare to the genuine adventure of love.
The adventure you can’t just buy a plane ticket for, that sweet subtle confluence of time, place, person, and that moment in two people’s lives when they are ready to say, YES, to something other than themselves, something other than the beauty of this bright blue world, something sweeter, and more gentle than they’ve ever known. Something that is the complement of this subtle sadness, these fatigued arms stretched wide to embrace, this heart that says, where are you?
I don’t need a man to make me happy. I don’t want a man, or a boyfriend, or even simply a husband. I want LOVE.
And there’s nowhere to go to find it, no place it can manifest but here, and no time it can be found than NOW.
Wherever you go there you are.
Each adventure leads me home.-anon.