Move to Paris?

Could you, Would you, pack up everything and move to another country?

I never thought I would, but I did. I now live in Paris, France.

I’ve been traveling to Paris for 20 years, but never thought I would actually reside here. Why would I leave a beach home in Southern California? I’ve had dreams of moving to Paris sure, but never imagined such an adventure would become a reality. I was pushed to leap, and then the climb back up began.

After being laid off for 9 months from a company I was with 19 years, I was on the hunt for my next career step. Nothing was happening, the phone wasn’t ringing. No one was handing me my VP title back, nor the nice salary.  It was time I sat back and really looked at what I wanted to do next, but why wasn’t the answer staring me in the face?

So, I wrote in my diary, I made “go/stay” lists, and even learned how to meditate. (ok, I think 3 minutes was my limit).  I read soul-searching books, drank lots of wine, then worked out to rid the wine. I listened to the wind while walking the beach, feeling that sea air blow through me. I pleaded something or someone please tell me what to do! Every type of soul-searching you can imagine, I did. As the days kept passing by, and the bills piled up, I needed to make a decision, and fast.

“Oh wind, please speak to me!” It did.

Take my home, please!

So Paris was calling me, but I was still conflicted. First, I decided to put my home for rent to see if I had any takers. This would make the decision for me and whether:  1) buy more sunscreen (beach home) or 2) buy an umbrella (Paris home).

After two weeks, an offer I couldn’t refuse came in, and that mighty wind made the decision for me. Paris became a reality and the adventure began, time to pack.

To be honest, I was appalled at how much stuff I actually accumulated. OK, I wouldn’t say I was at “hoarder” level, but I would be a close runner-up. I consider myself a neat freak, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t too much crap “neatly” put away. In three weeks, I sold, discarded, and/or donated 15 years of my life from my beach home and there was no turning back now.

I don’t care what you think

Don’t ask others, the only thought that matters is yours. Of course I cared what people thought, but the feedback I received was “are you crazy, your life is here”! Well, the wind was telling me otherwise.

Everyone’s situation is different. I never followed the “normal” path. ”When are you getting married, settling down, having children, buying the white picket fence home”?  I’ve been asked these questions my entire life, so I knew not to solicit others opinions. My path in life veered off from the norm at an early age, and I knew not to allow others negativity to influence my decision.

You have no choice, trigger pulled.

OK, I have a place to live in Paris, and hopefully work will fall into place, but now what? Reality sets in.

I told myself it was ok to relax at first, acclimate to the new surroundings. Work would start flowing naturally. Well, I am 3 weeks in, and no “flow” is happening.  I am 1/3 fluent in French, I have 3 friends here and no income. Besides that, I am used to the sun shining 360 days a year in Southern California. Now, hello rain.

Regardless of all these facts, I can truly say, I am happy.  I’ve stepped back and really looked at all I’ve done. The number of times I didn’t think I could push forward any more, I did. I actually see a path ahead, and the wind is finally blowing me forward and no longer holding me back

When will my life be on track again?

To actually giving yourself up to the laws of nature, is not a natural feeling. We are not wired to let go, our brain keeps replaying the past. Taking that jump is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you don’t know if the water below is hot, cold, or just right.

I am on that journey, and the first steps were hard, I mean really hard. Well, I made it this far. I look back at the past few months and ask myself how I did it. I don’t know how, but I did. So even though I am still on this cliff, I am proud of the distance I’ve climbed.

I don’t know if I am going up or coming down this mountain, but I am not jumping off. I am going to hold tight and enjoy the journey. More importantly, I have faith in the wind, and I believe it is blowing me in the right direction.