I live in Paris.
I speak fluent French.
I wander Paris in the rain, Paris at night.
I have a very good job with a generous company, that I do actually like.
I’m in marketing communications, and it’s a natural fit.
I’ve been to four countries since the end of September (only 2 new ones).
My gym is right across from the Jardin des Tuileries and Place de l’Opera.
And yes, I’m even starting to make real friends.
In a few hours, I’ll celebrate my third birthday in France.
Most shocking fact of all- if I wanted to, I could stay here forever.
And if and when I leave, I’ll be missed.
Most of the time I’ve been here, I’ve had a really hard time being happy. I’ve been lonely, disatisfied, feeling out of place, self-critical, and unloved.
I’ve found my calling- and it’s just this, simple as what I am doing right now.
Living in France, abroad, sometimes feels like a place out of time, sometimes a NeverNeverLand, often straight out of a storybook-living a fairy tale indeed, and all too often, it feels like a great civilization in decline. Living among ruins, living in a music box, a tragic but all too beautiful place. And yet-
It’s not dead yet, and maybe this place which is a law unto itself will get out of the mess it’s in. In the meantime, as its greatest detractor and greatest admirer, it breaks my heart.
There’s no logic reason to be here, except language skills-that being said, my work is done in English, and English really is all you need. Really.
And if I’m not happy, I can just go home.
But home is a complicated question. No, I will never be estranged from my native land, and I am so proud of being American and I do really think like one. That being said, my life is so much richer for being here.
And as it comes to talking about life, I realize I can’t defer mine any longer. Can’t wait till I am settled, can’t wait to put myself in a well-defined box of a white picket fenced yard, can’t wait until I am back “home.” Because home is here, there, and everywhere, if I just let it.
Can I let myself fall in love, knowing I might have to let go? knowing I might choose to let go? knowing I might simply be let go?
Can I let myself, for just a moment, feel the solid ground beneath my feet rather than looking to the sky and some distant faraway land (even if it’s my own) for answers?
Can I stop running, stop flying, stop searching for “growth”- and simply be?
Can I risk getting “trapped”? Can I risk falling in love? Can I, just for a moment, go with the flow and this time really just see where the wind takes me?
Can I stop myself feeling torn in two and for once, just be here, all of me, the silent witness, not just the labels and the tropes and the culturally conditioned attitudes?
Can I dare to give into wonder? To live a child-like life? To be led by the hand, to be held, by a force greater than myself and all my plans and schemes?
Can I stop living in fear, just for a second?
I’ve decided not to move, for the moment, and in doing so I know making vast progress.
Towards whatever the horizon holds for me, wherever it may take me,
but let it be, simply,
right here, right now.