As always, it's the people in my life that matter most. I am totally, amazingly blessed to have so many good, kind people in my life. But I also realize there's a choice in there. I choose to surround myself with those people. People who care about other people. People who are kind. Who are wickedly funny. Who care about what is happening in our world. People who care.
So much has happened in the last 6 weeks. One of my closest friends came to Paris for 6 weeks on sabbatical. We spent some time in Nice together and then tried to see each other as often as possible during the time she had in Paris. She is one of us ~ those souls who have Paris in their blood, in their head, in every fibre of their being. Like me, a lot of that has to do with the people we know here, the social life we have here. But it's also what the city gives to us, the beauty, the joie de vivre, the feeling that life is truly appreciated here. She left on Sunday and I miss her already. She knows she has a place to stay if she comes back before year end.
|Giving free hugs in front of Notre Dame|
|reflective in Nice|
|Our next home in Nice|
|And I love her :)|
|Celebrating my birthday with my besties|
I got to live a dream of mine last weekend. I was invited to participate in Diner en Blanc ~ it's a magical evening where everyone dresses in white and the secret location is revealed only an hour before the event. The chosen location becomes the site of an amazing dinner party, complete with white linen, china, crystal and delicious food and wine. This was the 30th anniversary of Diner en Blanc so it was opened up to international guests. 17,000 of us gathered on the esplanade in front of Les Invalides and shared a memorable evening, complete with a sparkling Eiffel Tower, a picture perfect sunset, live music, good friends, and a lust for life.
|My Diner en Blanc outfit|
|My friend Joseph ~ he and his partner Richard were kind enough to invite me to this amazing event|
|Eiffel Tower as our backdrop|
|People go all out in their attire|
|Sun beginning to set|
|It's a giant party|
|Perfect weather and a perfect sunset|
|The lights start to twinkle|
|The sun continues painting the sky|
|Enjoying with thousands of our dining companions|
|A dream come true|
One of my favourite memories of the last few weeks was gathering in a spectacular apartment that a friend was petsitting in. We were 6 women, all ages, all stages of life, single, divorced, married. What we had in common was a willingness to live life, to enjoy the time we have, to experience the joy and sorrow and pain and happiness and kindness of life. At one point, James Taylor's You've Got a Friend came on and we danced in the living room with the Eiffel Tower as our backdrop. I'll remember that moment for the rest of my life ~ women from many parts of the world, with different stories and histories and futures, but connected by what we share ~ a lust for life, a willingness to keep going no matter what life has thrown at us, a camaraderie with each other, a determination to not be victims, but to keep living life on our terms.
Life is truly what we make of it. While I am living my life in Paris, Abby continues her fight. She continually reminds me that we have to make the best of the time we have here. I try to live my life while honouring hers, the strength and courage she has. She and my son are my personal heroes. Whenever I feel down or sad or lonely, I look at their pictures and think of what they are going through and everything else pales in comparison. Derek knows I am there for him and Abby unconditionally and would come home at a moment's notice if he asked me to. Life is terribly unfair sometimes and all we can control is how we live it. I am trying to live it in a way that reflects the gratitude I feel at all the blessings I have.
A very good friend told me recently that when he looks at how I live my life, he feels like I am not a victim. That I am living life in all its glory, on my terms and making the best of it. That made me very happy because that's what I am trying to do. The past is the past. I've let it go. I am living in the present and looking to the future. I am letting it be. :)
I also hope it gives hope to many people, that no matter what is happening around us, to the people we love, to ourselves, to our families ~ we still have a choice. We can retreat, sit on a couch and cry, feel sorry for ourselves and give up ~ or we can rally, get out there and live, make the best of the short time we have been given, be there for those we love, but also for ourselves. Loving ourselves is the best way we have to love others. If we can't love ourselves, we don't really have anything to give anyone else. It's taken me a really long time to realize this, but it's how I'm going to try to live the rest of the time I've been given in this short life. Love myself, love others, be kind, and do no harm.
And so Paris continues to heal me, to wrap me in her arms, to love me. The time that I spend here, surrounded by friends, walking, drinking in the beauty, the history, the art, all of it contributes to the sheer joy that is who I am and who I strive to be. I will leave you with a picture that made my heart sing the day I got it ~ on Mother's Day and my birthday. It's of the 5 people on this earth that mean the most to me, that I would do anything for, that I live for and would die for. My daughter sent me this photo, knowing what it would mean to me, despite our current differences. It's a reminder that love always wins out, that kindness lives. It's my inspiration to always Let It Be.