Sunday, 17 December 2017

I'm going to Paris ~ dot, dot, dot

As my big day looms closer and closer (16 more sleeps!!!), I seem to be going through so many various and opposing feelings.  Excitement. Anxiety. Sadness. Nervousness. Happiness.  Ambiguity (doesn't last long, but it's there.  Fleetingly 😅) Fear. Pure Joy.  A "can't wait to be there" mixed with "what the fuck was I thinking" stream of consciousness that never stops, that keeps me from sleeping, that permeates every waking moment and every hard fought for dream.

Today was a perfect example.  With only 8 days until Christmas and 16 days until I leave, I was determined to get most of my Christmas gift wrapping and Paris packing done.  Ambitious, I know.  But I'm not a tightly wound, anal planning, anxious "what if" middle aged divorcĂ©e for nothing. So I wrapped.  Presents for my grandkids.  My cutest ever Charlie, sweetest ever Sebastian and searingly bravest ever Abby.

I wrapped presents for my kids, my mom, my family, my friends and more.   And as I wrapped and stuck on bows and wound ribbons and stuffed tissue paper and signed little gift cards, I realized that I would be leaving all these people ~  all my family, my friends, those who have sustained me and supported me and encouraged me and loved me for the last 4 years.  For the last lifetime.  I would be leaving them for a year.  I would not be able to drop in and get hugs and kisses and love and everything that has gotten me to a point where I can even contemplate leaving.  And I was sad.  Melancholy. Thoughtful.  But most of all grateful.  Grateful that I have so many people in my life who have gotten me to this point. To the point where I am strong enough to plan this long thought of and long awaited dream.  To make myself go forward and to challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone, leave my support network and fly by myself to a life I have only dared imagined.  I will miss my family.  They have no idea how much I will miss them.  Some think I'm doing this capriciously. That I am not thinking of what I am leaving behind.  But I think of it every day.  And I know I have to go.  I have to be brave and do this for myself.  Because if I don't, I will regret it every day for the rest of my life.  So I am going but I am bringing you all with me.  In my heart.  In my mind's eye.  In my soul.  I am bringing all the love and courage and determination and support you have given me in the last four years as I've remade my life.  As I've redrawn my future to something I could not have imagined that dark, cruel day in November 2013 when my life changed in a heart breaking instant.  You have all been the catalyst for this life-altering, this life changing, this life defining moment.  I thank you all for helping me get to this point where I can take this giant step forward and do something just for me.  Just because.

So that leads me to the packing.........because after the wrapping, came the packing.  Because I said to myself, this is what I am doing today.  So that's what I did.  Because that's what I do.  I make lists.  I make plans.  I give myself objectives and I meet them.  At work.  At home.  In life.  I just do.  I don't know how to not do that.  I wish I did.  I'd probably sleep a hell of a lot better if I could just not do that sometimes.  But that's just not who I am.  And I probably won't change now.  Anyways, I digress.  The packing............well, because of who I am, I've been building a list in my mind of what I would take.  What I would leave behind.  What I had to bring.  What I wanted to bring.  What I could bring if I had the space. So I've been writing that list in my mind for a few months.  Crossing things out. Putting them back.  Debating with that extra coat really necessary?  Will I wear that dress?  That scarf?  Those heels?  Today I gathered all those scattered little thoughts and gave them a voice.  I separated items into summer, fall and winter.  Absolutely vital and meh, maybe I just better toss this in since I have the space.  I put some 70s music on my Apple Music and bopped around, folding, rolling and stuffing into every spare inch, crevice and space of my 3 suitcases.  And you know what?  I was happy during that time.  I wasn't worried.  I wasn't scared.  I wasn't guilty. I wasn't anxious.  I just was.  I packed and sang and danced and didn't think about anything else except that I am moving to fucking Paris for a whole year.  Me.  I did this.  All by myself.  Got my visa.  Got my apartment. Got my financial affairs in order. Got my life ahead of me.  It's very rare for me to just be mindlessly happy.  I always have so much going on in my head.  I can't seem to stop the thoughts and worries and love and anxieties from swirling around in there.  But for a few short hours this afternoon, I was able to just pack and think about this huge adventure ahead of me and I was happy.  Content.  Excited.

I chatted with a close friend this afternoon and I was telling him that I can't believe I'm going to Paris for a year in 2 weeks.  And he stopped me.  Told me I needed to reword that sentence just a bit.  Told me that I was just going to Paris ~ dot, dot, dot.  And to just let the rest happen.  No timeline.  No expectations.  No must do's.  No plans.  Just, I'm going to Paris ~ dot, dot, dot...........

So that's what I'm going to try to do.  Just go to Paris ~ dot, dot, dot.....................

In the meantime, I hope this post has given you an idea of what this blog will be.  It will be raw.  It will be emotional.  It will be searingly honest.  Probably too much so.  But that's me.  I don't know any other way to be.  I don't have a filter.  I don't censor myself.  So it's not for everyone.  And that's ok. Because in the end, this blog is really for me.  It's my journal to myself.  It's won't be pretty sometimes. But it will always be real.  I wrote something down a while ago that I want to say now ~ what I write may not be great.  But it will always be true.  

So you've been warned.  Come along for the ride, but it might not always be fun.  But there will be pretty Paris pictures lol.  And on that note, in order to keep the 3 people that may still be reading this and thinking, wait, I thought this was going to be about Paris, here's some photos to keep you hanging on..........

This summer, on a sunny, warm day while strolling by myself in our capital city of Ottawa, I had one of those perfect moments of clarity, where I just knew, for whatever reason, that everything I've been through in my life has been leading me to this time.  I just knew I was on the right track and that I had to go on this journey,  this discovery of who I was and what might be possible for me.  I just had to Let It Be..........


  1. OMG!!!! So awesome, so YOU!! SO SO SO happy for you y twin. Can't wait to share just a bit of your year with you. It is I who is blessed to do so. You rock ma beatch! xo

    1. Thanks, my sista! It's a great big adventure and I'm excited we will get to share some of it together :). Love you more, my beatch!

  2. Hey Jo - i hear ya and understand ya - I went to London thinking I would be there 6 days and be wanting to come home - I was there 4 years and didnt really want to come home but my family was here and I was there and at the end of the day I came back to them. Funny thing is they would have wanted me to stay if they knew how happy I was there but I felt that I should be home.. Its scary, exciting, exhilarating, and unknown . The day that i landed I realised that there was noone to call to say I was there safely, noone to say Im just gonna pop in for a coffee and I was like oh shit what have i done, you ladies and the Paris group all kept me sane ! Over the keyboards there was no time difference ! You are following your dream - who gets to really say they have done that - go get them girl, make ten phone calls home a day like I did, get on Skype and make the absolute best of it ... what an adventure you are about to embark on - Kia Kaha , Aroha mai, Aroha atu. When love is given, love is returned. Megan W XXXXX

    1. It's so sweet of you to comment, Megan. It's good to hear from someone who has done this and lived to tell the tale. I so hope we get to meet in Paris next year ~ I have a feeling there would be lots of wine, lots of laughing and lots of catching up. :)

  3. Hi Jo
    You go girl !!!
    I'm so looking forward to sharing your experience. I'd be honoured if you'd consider joining the myfrenchlife team in some way. We're so entirely flexible and we embrace authenticity - that you have truckloads of.
    He's to Paris...

  4. Thank you so much, Judy! That is an amazing offer :) Let's talk once I get to Paris.

  5. Well you know me, always the serious one.
    (A) was there eggnog involved during this post? And
    (b) did you pack suntan lotion for that big side trip to Malta?

    Can't wait to read about your adventures and partake in a few of them as well. You SO deserve this gift to yourself!

  6. Bonjour mon amie!! I’ve shared with you my love for and contentment in this city that has reinvented me. I am that person I always wanted to be and am so thankful that the last 13 years have brought me such joy, love, and contentment. I know you. I know this will bring everything that has been gifted to me by this city, it’s people, it’s history, it’s architecture, it’s food and wine. There’s a spirit here and it found you. This is what will define you for the rest of your life. I’m so happy to have you here soon and watch you blossom. Your friends here are ready, if needed, to help with that transition and growth. See you soon! Love ya! Steve K.

    1. Merci, mon ami. I know that I will be welcomed with open arms by the wonderful friends I have found in our city. I know I will never truly be alone, except when I want to be. I look forward to many Wednesday Salons..........Love you right back :)