Maybe you saw me today. I was the girl walking down Rue Étienne Marcel simultaneously crying and eating an entire baguette. If you had caught sight of me 15 minutes earlier you would have seen me having a shame-cigarette (while also crying).
I moved to Paris nearly 9 months ago. I wish I could say that the entire experience has been as wonderful as it was the first 3-4 months. Those were the halcyon days of naive belief that “everything will turn out right” and “those bureaucratic horror stories wont apply to me!” where I spent my mornings and afternoons walking around this beautiful city and my evenings cozied up with a book. I took some great photos, I wrote some fun posts, I wrote the entire manuscript of a novel and generally just had an all around great time.
Fast forward to January.
Something changed. Something changed in me. Suddenly nothing was making me happy. Suddenly my days were spent holed up in my apartment, stressed and depressed. I would go a full week only leaving the apartment to get some fresh bread (I was depressed, not an animal) and buying whatever minimum of groceries I needed. I couldn’t find work, though I was okay for cash due to my freelancing, and I wasn’t making any friends.
I felt like Paris had betrayed me.
Like the self-centred millennial that I am, I felt like I was failing to live in the city and needed to do something different. I believed that I was unhappy in Paris and it was Paris’ fault. I needed to do new things, explore new places. And I stand by my decision – I decided to fuck off to Thailand for a month. I decided that I would rather spend the money I had saved up going around Thailand for a month and seeing all the sights that I had longed to see.
I don’t regret it at all.
But I’m back in France now, and it has been 5 months and I am still not happy. And part of that is France and where I see my life, but a larger part of that is me. I keep running away from something but that something is stuck to my back. Now I’m trying to make a stand and stay in this place for a bit, trying to set up at least the semblance of a solid life here, and it is not quite going as planned.
Maybe I’m too impulsive. I know I spend too much time thinking about the future, obsessing about stuff that I shouldn’t even think about. I’m spending so much time worrying about what kind of future I’ll have that I’m not even taking the time to enjoy what I do have.
I started out writing this with the intention of moaning on and listing all the problems I’ve found since trying to set-up shop here; the horrible bureaucracy, the unfriendliness and alienation, the casual racism and sexism.
(okay maybe I can’t help but have a bit of a moan)
But at the end of the day I do need to listen to what my infinitely wiser and more patient friends have been telling me. I’m in a period of transition and I need to figure out who I am and what I want. And running from one country to the next (while absolutely tempting) isn’t going to solve my bigger problems of being unhappy with myself and the choices I have made so far in my life. I know that I am going to keep travelling – it’s what I’ve always wanted and what makes me deeply happy – but I think I need to determine in what capacity. I need to figure out how to be happy with myself – how to be good to myself – and how to learn to balance my hopes for the future with appreciating the present.