So, after surviving a divorce, losing a very close friend–and some not so close ones I’m really not too upset about, honestly–I decided that I needed to do something just for me. I don’t buy into that “you deserve it” stuff but I do believe that you need to take time out, just for yourself once in a while because it’s necessary, if for nothing other than your sanity.
Being an INFJ, time alone is something I do often and I relish it! I have absolutely no qualms avoiding the social scene and serving my own interests, be it listening to music, baking, reading or just sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and letting my mind wander. That being said, I do enjoy spending time with those members of my trusted inner circle, discovering new sights, sounds, food and culture.
I have always loved all things French. I have had a fascination with the language, the history and the culture since I was a young girl and I overheard an elderly tourist couple conversing in French. I took French lessons for 8 months, once a week, before my first European holiday and I was able to get by, barely mind you due to my limited vocabulary, when visiting Calais and of course, Paris. The dichotomy of that trip was that Gerald and I took it towards the end of our marriage and yet it was on of the most amazing holidays of my life. My most vivid memory was sitting on the bench underneath the Eiffel Tower, looking up at that masterpiece of construction, the sheer magnitude and beauty of it and realising that my marriage was truly over. So despite actually being at the iconic symbol of Paris, that I had stared dreamily at pictures of and touching it with my own hand, the most overwhelming memory was one of sadness. I can recall with perfect clarity the tears that ran down my cheeks and the look on Gerald’s face. On some level I am convinced he knew, though we never spoke of it.
I say one of the most amazing holidays of my life because something else happened to me in those few days in Paris. Something in me positively blossomed and I fell in love with that city. It was everything I had dreamed of and more than I could have hoped for. Because of the short duration of my stay I did not get to see all the things I had hoped to see. I did not visit the Louvre, Monmarte, Sacre Coeur, the palace at Versailles, Galeries Lafayette, Shakespeare & Co. or the Opera Garnier. Needless to say these are on the top of my list for my next trip, one that I shall be taking in January 2014. I have enrolled in a language school in the 9th arrondissement (district), in the heart of Paris. I shall take classes every morning from 9am to 1pm, with one cultural trip per week. The rest of the time I am free to go wherever my fancy takes me, without worrying about anyone or anything else. To bolster my understanding of the language and the ‘French experience’, I have chosen to stay with a French family. My hostess lives just outside central Paris. I am nervous and excited in equal measure.
I have never been overseas on my own and not for longer than two weeks. That being said, I believe you need to move towards the fear. That way you continue to grow and experience new things and isn’t that the point? We become accustomed to our daily routines, work, home, dinner, sleep, do it all again. That banal monotony is the reason we find ourselves so bored or depressed or restless, longing for adventure but because we are also afraid of the unknown and are ‘comfortable’ in our routine, we find reckless methods of alleviating this boredom or depression and we delve into illicit relationships, alchohol, drugs, gambling and even adrenaline sports to inject some excitement into our self-induced, comatose inducing ruts.
Enter; the fear! You hear people say “It’s easier said than done” all of the time with equally boring monotony. This is categorically untrue. All it takes is 60 seconds of bravery. Take the path less travelled, do what frightens you a little but all the while respecting the people who love you. Don’t up and leave your husband and children and flit off to join The Sea Shepherd permanently, noble as that may be. I don’t advocate being recklessly selfish.
Do, see and experience things you have not done before and I promise you that not only will you grow, but you will feed your mind and your spirit. You’ll be happier and more available to experience life as it should be. If you can’t pack up and go and live in Paris for 6 weeks, do it on a smaller scale. Just do something!
I will surely keep you updated on what I get up to in Paris!
Thank you for reading.
- Bonjour! Paris, Juillet 2007 (hannahmulticultural.wordpress.com)
- Paris at Last! (caseybrooks25.wordpress.com)
- Paris highlights – Montmartre (esnkay.wordpress.com)
- For Paris, With Love. (catsenses.wordpress.com)
- Paris One Stop Shopping (noworriesparis.com)
- Oui oui, Paris! (thegypsetlife.wordpress.com)