Monday, February 8, 2010


Last May my husband and I escaped to Paris for two glorious spring weeks. For me the trip came at the end of a particularly challenging year at a job that was supposed to change my life. You know the type of job - the one that makes you a huge success, the one where you work sixteen hours a day but still manage to cook gourmet meals and train for marathons while keeping your legs waxed. Instead, the job resulted in a lot of tears, sleepless nights and skin the colour of wet cement. Paris was my light at the end of the tunnel.
And yes, the darkness lifted immediately upon our arrival. Shaking off the jet lag, I changed into my best walking-around-Paris-and-not-being-mistaken-for-an-American outfit (black ballet flats, pleated white skirt, black wraparound shirt and giant sunglasses) and headed straight for jardins Tulieres and a warm, abricot crepe. Lightness restored! For the next two weeks, my husband and I more or less ambled around Paris eating, drinking and shopping and feeling more at home with each passing day. Each afternoon, while drinking Kronenburgs at a different sidewalk brasserie, we played what soon became our favourite game: look-up-and-imagine-we-live-in-the-apartment-above. Sometimes we saw maids cleaning, sometimes we saw nothing but the backs of chairs and art made blurry by curtains, and once we saw a gentleman standing with his ancient golden retriever watching us, watching him.
Returning home, I was flattened again by my job and with no Paris on the horizon, my husband suggested I see a career counselor. Because this isn't a Blog about careers, I won't go into too many details about this process but, in brief, I learned the following:
  • I am not Murphy Brown (disappointing);
  • I am not Carrie Bradshaw (very disappointing);
  • I do not have to be stressed to be successful;
  • I have a lot to be grateful for; and

Obviously I adore the last bullet - I.AM.PARIS. Mais oui! This revelation - if I may go so far to revel- came at the very end of my sessions, nearly seven months after starting to work with my much loved career counselor. It came after personality testing, tears of frustration at letting go of Murphy Brown, relaxation exercises, journal writing exercises, and etc. At our last session, we were again talking about things I love and naturally we talked about Paris.

"What do you love about Paris?"

Paris is romantic. Paris is organized chaos. Paris is attention to detail. Paris is a lifestyle that I aspire to. Paris is fashionable. Paris is edgy. Paris is kind but not too kind. Paris is challenging. Paris is delicious. Paris is smart. Paris is happiness. Paris is where I feel strong. Paris makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. Paris is history. Paris is wonderful memories and dreams about the future.

"Well, there you go - you are Paris. Write that down."

I wrote it down. I wrote it in huge letters. I repeated it out loud driving home. I phoned my husband from the car - now illegal - and told him. I wrote it on a French postcard and carry it tucked in my daytimer to remind myself of happiness and light. So simple, so beautiful.



Ryeder said...
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Ryeder said...

Nice posting and very well written. Great stuff my girl.