I have always wanted to live in a foreign country, primarily I have always wanted to live in France or at least it has been on the top of my list. Now it could be the romanticizing of the French approach to life, that whole joie de vivre (aka the joy of life), sure or it could be the fact that I spent my entire life hearing about France and the French blood that runs in my veins and how that in and of itself made me somehow unique or different.
Whatever it was or is, isn’t really my point here, my point is that I have always wanted to live somewhere else. Not because I don’t appreciate my country, I do, not because I don’t appreciate where I live now, I do. Because there is something deep inside me that requires a certain degree of change. Moving makes me happy, change brings me a degree of aliveness, I always say that it makes my gypsy spirit fly free!
For the last almost dozen years I had a pact with my soon to be ex-husband that once our son was done with high school, we would move, we would travel, we would explore. For the first 10 years of our marriage, we traveled at least once a year outside of the country, this kept my inner gypsy happy and waiting for the day when it could be more.
When Covid hit many things changed, my marriage ended. When we were forced to be in the same space together and look at what we both wanted, it was tough not to see that we were on two different paths and in the end, he would risk himself to get on my path and I would risk a certain kind of spiritual death for me to get on his and there was no magical middle ground. I realized that I had been trying this magical middle ground for a while and it wasn’t working. We both loved each other deeply but had to love each other enough to let each other go.
A few weeks ago, we talked about this decision after having lived apart for several months and we came to the same conclusion, love on its own wasn’t enough and both of us wanted the other to be happy. So, we decided to let the April finalization of our divorce stand. It was during that same week that I confirmed a new corporate client in this new Covid paradigm, with no mandatory travel, as a matter of fact there is no location requirement at all.
As these facts begun to sink in, I had this ah ha moment. Holy crap! I could actually go live somewhere else, in another country, perhaps even a one-year extended stay in France?
As all of the possibilities and potentials began to flow over me there was a burst of excitement followed by my own inner naysayer, that voice in my head that loves to rain on every parade and tell me all the time why I can’t or shouldn’t do whatever it is that I am wanting to do.
My naysayer stood up and began to shout and shout loudly, all of the reasons that I can’t, beginning with the reasons that I can’t take my dog and the reasons why traveling with a dog would be too hard for me to handle all by myself. Oh yeah, and then the language threats started to be thrown by that voice in my head reminding me that I am not fluent and that I need a lot more study. Blah, blah, blah, you get the picture, my inner mean girl (aka the naysayer) was in full swing trying to scare my dreams right out of me.
I tried to let those fears slide aside by telling them not to worry I am not going today. As my inner naysayer began to slow down there was another voice popping up, softly, slowly with possibilities, my inner optimist began a series of “what if you tried this?” or “what if you found that situation?”
It is amazing to me that something I have wanted for so long is actually now near to being possible and a part of me is actually scared to death of it while another part isn’t afraid at all and is happily making plans. There is a part of me that is afraid of doing it and being miserable and ending up with a dream that was better as a dream than in real life.
Part of me is jumping in and saying, “look, you have friends in many countries, why choose one where you know no one?” While that voice carries some truth, it is missing the connection that France has always had for me, that seed planted by my grandfather from an early age when he would tell me about his days in France near the end of the war or his stories of his own father coming from France to Canada and finally to the U.S. so long ago. He told me that being French was an important part of my lineage and while it is layers removed at this point there has always been a part of me that has recognized that when I have been there, I have felt a certain at home feeling in that place. A certain alignment of how I am as a person with how the French can be, albeit by gross generalization here.
The push and pull of my inner naysayer & optimist have continued for over a week now with some days resting in possibility and others spent in fear, thankfully as the voice of possibility continues to come up with ways to address the arguments the naysayer grows quieter, not yet silent but at least quieter.
Somehow, I feel like I am on a rollercoaster of my own making while this all plays out and I continue to lean into this possibility and where it may take me. Only time will tell.