Life Right Now: R in Paris

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

This week I'd like to introduce you to R, a dear friend who indulges me in late-night conversations about love, life, faith, diy, education, and all points in between. R is the friend who will swim in our pond at midnight, shoot off fireworks on New Years, and leave the door open when we come to visit. I'm thrilled to have her a part of this series. 

Here's R:

On being unable to plan completely for the future

Certainly there are things that are unexpected, both good and bad! Life is like that, unexpected and unpredictable, no matter what the latest self-help book might say. Sure, you can pick your track and hope for the best as you work towards a goal, but you can never know if you'll get there or not, and you can never predict the how or what it will look like. I never imagined I would be living in Paris. I never thought I would be teaching at one of the best high schools in Europe, and I never thought I would get into politics like I have.

On the crowning achievement for women

These are the surprises I have had recently. I am also often naively surprised by the sharkiness of the world, and the amount of judgement we people bring on each other because of our own insufficiency. Some of the harshest judgements, though, I think we bring on ourselves. I find myself judging myself based on where I thought I’d be when I was 16, and what did I know at the age of 16?! I had mentors who suggested that marriage was the crowning achievement for women. They were not forward thinkers, and I certainly had no idea what the price tag of success truly was—lots and lots of hard, focused work. In my naive mind, success meant having God plop things into your lap because you loved him so much. Then you were sure to be married by 25, with a good career, with a little girl by your side and a kind husband who loved you and did housework and cooked, too.

On everything being okay

Instead I’m childless, facing a career change , and living with a boyfriend who is terrified of marrying me. I have health problems and am a basket-case of emotions and nervous ticks. It can be tricky living in a country where I barely speak enough of the language to get by. I’m an alien, and life can seem tough. But, I do have a relatively good plan, and with hard work, a positive outlook, and the right amount of fun and determination, it will be okay. I have to believe that because the other option is, well... what other option do I have?

On the interplay of joy and doubt

What brings me joy is living in Paris, having a fun partner by my side to do fun things with like walk the city, make jokes, be strange, and be myself with all my fears and craziness. I have a constant nagging pain that I'm not living holy, not getting what I want, and not smart enough to navigate the waters. Doubt is a part of living, though.

On those early morning anxieties

The 4 a.m. wake-ups are very real and regular. They lead me to the computer to do a new job search or to brush up my CV. They often lead to outlandish plans that will remain in the layers of grey matter entrapped in my skull.

On challenges and changes

I love living and working here, and I love challenges, and I do like changes. So, these are the joys—the ups of being alive right now. I’m regaining health as the end of my teaching career is within reach, though patches of raw flesh still plague me. For a release, I’m editing for an online writing magazine and I love it. I have gotten to travel more than I ever imagined, and there are good people around to walk and talk with. This is bliss.

Thank you, R! 

In case you're missed them, here are the first and second interviews in the Life Right Now series. 

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