Article by Meredith Keeve a.k.a the Wandering Parisian
Freedom of choice/Le bon choix
Discernment has long been my favorite adjective to describe French lifestyle and culture. Reflecting then selecting is the operative way to move forward in all of your decision-making processes at this point.
If we think about lifestyle as a series of choices we pare things down to their essentials.
What do you want your lifestyle to be?
What do you want your life to look like?
Many people at this stage of life dream of traveling – whether that means exotic adventures in Borneo, or wandering through museums in Florence or simply sitting by a turquoise sea – if that is truly your dream and your desire then what choices do you have to make to make that dream a reality?
Working from the assumption that we do not have unlimited resources – there are limits to finances, to time, to health, energy, enthusiasm – then what do we choose?
To realize your dreams you have to make choices.
Making choices means choosing some things and rejecting others. If travel is a choice you want to make, what other elements need to be eliminated to make that possible?
We have all known people who moaned about wanting to travel, or wanting to do anything who dismissed their desires explaining they couldn’t leave the house, the garden, the pets…Those sorry souls were often prisoners of their belongings or their home or their pets. The internet now provides SUCH a fantastic array of services and possibilities we should no longer find ourselves enslaved and imprisoned to our chosen responsibilities. There are a myriad of pet-sharing apps and sites, people who love animals but whose professional lives do not permit them to have pets full time who are thrilled to share someone’s treasured furry friend. Housesitting services abound, and if this is a long term, recurrent desire DOWNSIZE and live a turn-key life!
Choosing the components for your life in these later years is essential. Where we are on the time continuum means there are fewer years and thus those years are that much more precious – why would you waste a minute of them with things that are not important, meaningful or useful?
Moving forward/En Avance
At 50 or beyond your life is changing, or has already changed.
Whether your children have left home, or divorce, retirement or new romance has radically altered your lifestyle, or even if your long-term plans
have come to fruition, or if they simply need revision, you are NOT standing still.
How do we go forward from here?
As we get older we acquire not only things (which we will deal with further on) but also attitudes and habits. If we do not challenge these habits and attitudes we become stuck – stuck in the same place, doing the same things, thinking the same thoughts and thus disconnecting ourselves from the modern world and the people who are meaningful to us. Connection is vital for everyone. You need to be connected to yourself and to your world.
And the French are experts in connection. In Paris we are surrounded by art, fashion and culture on the highest levels, and at the same time the cashier at the Monoprix (my local supermarket) comments on the scallions in my cart, as she rings them up, and suggests a new ingredient to use them in an omelette. The man who waits on me at my Primeur (the fruit and vegetable stands usually found in the open air markets) calls me “Ma Charmante” (literally translated “My Charming”). How could you resist these daily interactions, this very French sense of community?
Every bit of scientific research says exactly the same thing – the people who live the longest, healthiest happiest lives are those who are connected to other people. And connection is movement, it is moving out of your comfort zone into new thoughts, new places and new experiences.
So en avance, let’s move forward!