After 3.5 months of living in London, I arrived back in Paris for my first visit since moving away. I must admit that I was a little nervous to come back; would I still feel the same way about Paris, France, and all that goes along with those things? About life, career, home...?
I am writing this post on a grey, wintery day in Paris. Winter is cold and grey in both London and Paris, and there isn’t always snow. Paris is colder and London is darker. I hate both of those things. Luckily the other seasons are beautiful.
At first, it was very strange to be back in Paris. Everything felt very familiar, but at the same time I realised that some things were/are no longer my « normal ». Strangely enough, my French level seems to have improved, despite not using it anywhere near as much in London. Being around the French language again was not a shock, and I seem to be oddly more comfortable in French than I ever was while living here. What I was most happy to realise, though, while wandering the streets of Paris, was that I am happy here. It feels to be much more « home » at this point than London does. Is that because of the time I spent here, or because I have people who connect me so deeply to this place? Will I eventually grow to feel the same way about London? And about the rest of England as I do about the rest of France?
I am definitely happier in London than I was before, now that I have found a good job, have somewhat settled in, am making friends, and am on a comfortable salary for the first time in my life. It is nice to be able to have some financial security and work on paying off my student loan. It is certainly the place I need to be right now in order to have some stability. I’m constantly thinking and planning, but have been removing stress from my life where possible. Stress and anxiety have always been struggles for me.
I have resigned myself to the fact that this period in my life is somewhat of a transient time, that was and is necessary for me. I have had to learn that life has its own speed and you can’t always control it, as much as you might want to. A certain amount is up to us, but the rest requires a big dose of luck, fate or whatever you want to call it, and often a decent amount of money. My two years in Paris certainly taught me that, and I’m using my two years in London to prepare however I can for whatever is next (back to France?) and I plan to enjoy this time, too. Keeping my eyes fixed on my goals, but slowing down to a rate that is manageable for the lot I have been given in life so far. We don’t all live in fairytales, have Instagram lives (but we can still have great photos!), or have God, goverments, institutions, or donors blessing us with all the opportunities, resources, and « privilege » we want. That doesn’t mean we can’t live great lives and be ambitious - we just need to remember that the future will always be unknown and to be reminded that we are not failures if we aren’t living the way we (and often others) think we should be. We are only human. We are still successes. We are always artists. We are not meant to all take the same path.
I think my 2019 resolutions will be something to do with these thoughts, though I’m not there yet with figuring them out exactly. Still a couple of days to go, and who is keeping track, anyway?