It is impossible for me to imagine that I have already been in Paris for almost a month. The time really has flown by. But as I enjoy my morning bowl of café au late and write this post, it also seems like I have been here for an eternity somehow. I think about some of the wonderful experiences that I have already had, and the new daily rythmn and routine that my life has settled into, and it seems like so much longer then a month. I am starting to notice subtle changes within myself, and am amazed at how a shift in our lifestyle can bring forth transformation and healing so quickly. I arrived at the end of March rather exhausted and brittle, and now feel more creative, hopeful, energized, and hungry for life then I have in a very long time. Flickers of an earlier, more carefree Robert are now blazing brightly again, happily dancing and playing on the blank canvas that my life has become.
I think there is something to be said for pushing ourselves out of the “comfort zone” a little, and granting permission to do some of the “wild and crazy” things that we dream about, but rarely dare to make reality. Perhaps because these dreams feel too frivolous or indulgent, like something best left mothballed for another speculative point on the horizon – when everything in our lives is in order and neatly dealt with. Guess what friends, the “perfect” moment to pursue your dreams will never come. Life is perfectly imperfect, and will continue to throw curve balls that can keep us putting off our dreams until another day for eternity. Today is the day. Pick something large or small that you have always wanted do, and do it…today. It could be as simple as trying a wild new flavor of gelato, starting to learn that second language online, or pulling the pin on a more major life change. Do it, today.
I’ve got a news flash, change is always going to be unnerving. One of the moments that stuck with me from Eat, Pray, Love was when someone asked Liz Gilbert if she was unnerved by a situation, and she basically said that what she probably needed most was a little unnerving. Amen! I would love to write here that I was all cool like a cucumber about quitting my job and heading off to Europe, but I wasn’t. I was shitting bricks actually. As exciting as it is to take this plunge and do something huge that I have dreamed about for a long time, the part of my brain controlled by logic was also busy calculating the risks involved in all of this, and screaming for me to put the breaks on. Luckily, the right side of my brain politely told the left to “shut the fuck up for a change”. That was the first droplet in a growing cascade of positive changes for me.
Sure there was initial trepidation when I first got here, and there are still moments when the language barrier and missing family, friends and familiarity can be challenging, but I can also say that I feel a profound sense of accomplishment and joy that is hard to describe. I think part of it is that I actually surprised myself with the strength and determination that I have to move forward after a very difficult few years personally, by taking control of my life and pursuing my dreams and happiness again. My motives for this somewhat impulsive journey became crystal clear to me while trying to explain them to a friend, who couldn’t understand why I was taking a sabbatical just when I had reached the peak of my career. Finally, when I was tired of trying to rationalize it to their satisfaction, I looked them straight in the eyes and said “because I choose happiness, that’s why”, mic drop. Huh, where did that little nugget come from? From a place of truth, deep inside I would say.
Even though I still don’t know what the future may hold, I can honestly say that I am happy and deeply content with my choices. I am happy all the way down to my bones. I am exploring beautiful new places, meeting interesting people, being creative again, and savoring every tasty morsel that life wants to throw my way. Sometimes when I am simply walking down the street, or sitting on the Seine on a warm evening enjoying a cold beer with half the population of Paris, I catch myself thinking “I am the luckiest person in the world”, and meaning it. I have been thinking that a lot lately actually, and what a lovely way to truly feel in your heart. I believe that this genuine gratitude will only serve to unlock more doors on this amazing journey. Always choose happiness.
*I have included some random photography from my adventures over the past week in this amazing and beautiful city. Enjoy!