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So as I was sitting in the metro today coming back from La Defense, with a heavy bag of groceries and the prospect of going up 7 flights of stairs, surrounded by tired people coming home from work, I realized that this is it.

There is no place I’d rather be. This is the life I’ve created. In the most ordinary of moments, on a rainy Friday night, I realized that this is what it has come down to.

And while I’m not blissfully happy every moment, this is my bliss.

And even though things aren’t perfect, even though I’m not perfect, I enjoy my life. I enjoy being here. I enjoy my job. I enjoy my blossoming social life. I enjoy my friends. I enjoy my travels. I enjoy my life as it is.

It is not necessarily any better or worse than any where else in the world, and in some places I probably could be materially better off.

But, at this moment, and for the next year or so or twenty, this is where I want to be.

And the cost of being here is the cost of living. At some point, you have to close every other door you could have gone through.

You have to stop gazing with nostalgia or regret in the past or projecting with fear or fantasy into the future.

This is it.

This really is it.

This is my life.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not even the mistakes. The mistakes were the cost of being the person I am today.

I went to Chipotle, thinking of it as a kind of Valentine’s treat. Plus I just felt like it.

Besides the fond memories and the guacamole, I didn’t even really like it. The food didn’t seem so flavorful, somehow. ANd the burrito was too big. My stomach hurt after eating it.

Now I am not a delicate rose petal with no appetite at all. I enjoy food a lot. I’ve never been one to get overfull. But in this case, I was uncomfortably full.

And I realized, I am not the person I once was.

I am not.

And I never will be again.

So I raised my glass of Coke Zero with the limes that always made me appreciate Chipotle more in recognition of the person I once was.

I think I have held on so long because she never felt the love she needed, from me.

I am not the same person as I was when I first went to France. I am not the same person I was when I moved here last year. I am not even the person I was when I came home from Christmas break in the US with my family.

And I”ve had it, waiting for things to be perfect. I’ve had it, hoping one day things will stop being a mess. I’ve had it, withholding love and fun and friendship from myself until one day when I will be perfect.

Not only because that day will never come, but also because I want and deserve that self love NOW.

And if I can’t love myself with credit card debt and a few extra pounds and not having it all together, it’s no love worthy of the name.

If I can’t forgive myself the few misteps I made on the amazing road that led me here, I’m completely missing the bigger picture.

The price of being human, of being alive, of being an imperfect perfectible being is that we learn by making mistakes. If we already knew, we wouldn’t have to learn- and that’s what we are all here for after all, in my view.

So I’m going to finally stop being hard on myself. Not only because it’s not working and never has worked, but also because I want and deserve to feel good.

Because this moment is really all we have.

This is it.

Time to be happy.

And I”ve been thinking back to when I was miserable, pitching a shit fit every day because I didn’t follow my heart and stayin paris, because I made the wiser choice and had faith I’d find another way to come back and followed my head as well as my heart. Because I went from the place I felt like I belonged to other places that were uncomfortable, in order to grow.

I salute that person, who managed to somehow pack on about 10-15 pounds in three months and make my clothes not fit. Thank you for telling me that I needed to be here.

And to that girl who called that guy countless times, who made excuses that didn’t even make sense for him, to the girl who always held out hope but never really believed in anything, least of all herself, to the girl who tried to go back to the way life could have been, to someone who dared to make a fool of herself every day and care enough for someone to overlook their weak points, I love you. Without the hard lessons you taught me, without your patience and inner strength, without your fearless heart, I would not love myself so much now, or have the same sense of what love really is and is not.

And to the girl that finally made it to Paris and still couldn’t do anything but complain, to the one who just couldn’t seem to find her groove even though she got what she wanted, to the poor girl who was lonely and neglected and really confused and not sure if she’d made the right choice, I salute you.  you made it through, you persevered, you asked all the tough questions and ou got your answers. WIthout you, I wouldn’t be sure of myself or where I am today. Without your ceaseless critical inquiry, I wouldn’t be able to have the same peace. Without your doubt, I couldn’t have found my faith. Thank you.

And to the girl who’s always running a little late, who doesn’t plan things ahead of time, who’s still trying to get it together, thanks. You are doing just fine and there’s really nothing wrong with you and you are fixing all the small stuff- and it is all small stuff.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Namaste,

MJ

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