This is second my last blog entry.
I will be honest and admit that in some ways I’m slightly relieved. I’m not an online personality, I’m extremely private and I’ve never kept a journal, so doing this every day has been difficult and at times felt more like an obligation rather than a desire.
That being said, I’m glad I did it. Not just because it kept family and friends in the loop (and saves me having to repeat several times what I did while away), but because it’s a record of our time here. I like to think that in years to come I can look back and remind myself of what I was thinking at that very time. I don’t just want to remember my time in Paris with the hindsight or maturity I may develop in ten years, I want to remember Paris exactly as I do today.
So my closing blog entry comes in two parts (why not, the final Harry Potter book is being split into two movies…). It’s a goodbye to me in Paris, and then a goodbye to the city of Paris.
I have learnt that I have a lot of stress in my life. I would never have described myself as a stressed person – I am always fairly in control, organised and practical so I find I can deal with a lot of responsibility and pressure probably better than most, and I certainly don’t stay up at night tossing and turning. But here I am in Paris, completely away from it all…and I feel different. It’s like one of my barriers has fallen down and smiling doesn’t seem as difficult. Even my health feels better and that has to be saying something seeing I’m drinking solidly and eating an intense amount of carbs every day!
I have learnt that I’m at peace with my profession. I’m doing what I’m good at and while it may not always be fun or sound cool to others, it lets me utilise my natural skills and lets me afford the lifestyle I want. And isn’t lifestyle more important than anything? Sure, in the future my career path will probably veer but I’m going to let it take its natural course. I need to stop wishing I was doing something else.
I have learnt that what motivates me is instant reward – be it enjoyment, money etc. This has been hard to accept because on the surface I feel it makes me look soulless. I look at people like Demis and my sister who are so committed to their ideas. They will go all the way in giving something a go and it’s this passion that sees them succeed at long term projects. I’m not like this and while being here I’ve questioned if maybe that means I’m lazy, unmotivated or someone who likes to take the easy way out. But I accept that my motivation is different and that’s OK. I may not have what it takes to write a novel but I am able to achieve some pretty cools things in the here and now and my need for immediacy means I get a lot done and I’m successful in my work because I’m so driven. You need a balance and I think it’s nice Demis and I complement each other that way.
I feel confident about not wanting children and our decision to come here was kind of a statement of that fact. It still leaves my future a little unclear though. What is the stereotypical path for those with no kids? I feel that if we’re not careful we could end up each weekend sitting at the end of the table with other families as cool “Aunty” Cat and “Uncle” Demis – almost like a single person can end up tagging along with couples. As much as I will love the children my friends have I don’t want that life, because it’s not my life and may lead to unfair resentment over time. So for me that makes it important, to not only play a role in my friends’ lives and their children’s lives, but to also expand my social circle to include others that have chosen a similar path. I need to make sure there are a few other people who are choosing the same life or I will just feel alienated. Loved yes, but alienated.
While I’m being honest, I also want to voice a strong pet hate (quite off the topic but hey, it’s my blog so there). 85% of my female friends on facebook who have a child, have their profile picture set as a photo of their baby. Where has the woman gone? I will always be more interested in the parent than I am in the child (which is a compliment I would have thought) and I’m angered I don’t always see that same sense of self in the parent. The day will come when the child has its own facebook profile but until then why aren’t I hearing about the woman, only the child??? I’m feeling forced to give up a friendship with an adult in favour of a relationship with the child.
Grrr!!! Sorry, but it needed to be said.
I have learnt that my marriage is strong. I cherish that even though Demis and I have spent nearly every second of every day with each other for two months straight (enough to drive many couples insane)…we still don’t run out of things to talk about and still adore being near each other. I will always be so thankful that I boarded that plane to Germany so many years ago.
Lastly, I have learnt that life can be amazing. I feel as though right now I am living the dream and it wasn’t a dream difficult to achieve. It’s so easy to fall into a rut but after these two months I know with absolute certainty that I will not, under any circumstances, let that happen to us. We will work hard, we will do all the normal things like paying off mortgages and accumulating wealth, but we will also taste what life has to offer. We will pull ourselves away from reality, we will step outside our comfort zones and we will never stop shaping our lives and our selves.
I don’t know what’s next – New York, Sicily, somewhere in Africa, the north of Spain…but until the day we die, it’s going to be a brilliant life. It’s completely in our hands and our hands are capable.
So thank you Paris. I would have been happy with just a handful of memories but – as it tends to happen with traveling – I ended up with a little bit more.
À demain Paris…
P.s…what does one do on their second last night in Paris? Buy three bottles of special natural wines and whole lot of cheese of course :-)