Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year, New Moi

It started with a question. If I acted more like a real Parisienne (you know, confident, cool, assertive, unflappable), would I actually begin to feel more like one?

Why, you ask, would such a thing concern me? After all, I live in Paris. I've integrated well into our local community, I'm ridiculously blessed with a great family and good friends and even get to do work I love. But this has nothing to do with all that. It has to do with me. On the inside. I'm ready to make some changes that aren't about geography or fitness or getting organized (although I have some of those on my resolutions list, too). These changes are of the inner variety; the idea that it's high time to embrace my own power, to stop waiting for the world to give me what I seek and to simply go out and get it. No apologies.

And so in the spirit of the motto, "fake it 'til you make it," I turned my question into a challenge: What would happen if I acted out (on the outside), the changes I seek on the inside? If I act stronger, would I feel stronger? If I speak up, forcefully and clearly, albeit in my perfectly imperfect French, will the grouchy boulangere give me fresher baguettes? If I take to the streets like I'm worth a million bucks, will I feel like a star inside (no matter what I'm wearing?) If I venture a conversation with that mom at school, can I blow it off as nothing if she does the same? Basically, can I bring a new level of confidence and resilience to all (or most) of my life's interactions?

If I do, I believe more of what I seek will come: deeper connections to my loved ones and friends; greater joy in my daily life in Paris; the courage to write (and speak) what's true, even if it's hard or uncomfortable. These are things I resolve to do.

There are lots of great reasons for me to make these changes: to be a better role model for my daughter, to be a better partner, friend and even writer. But mostly I want to do it for me. And isn't that what getting older is all about?

And so in this spirit, I tackled yesterday. I strode the rues as if I owned them, greeted strangers with a shoulders back, my-French-may-not-be-perfect-but-it's-just-fine confidence, finished a piece I was writing and didn't apologize for a thing. And you know what? It worked. Nothing revolutionary actually happened, but I felt better, stronger -- more the me I want to be. And maybe even the tiniest bit Parisienne. :)

How about you? Any resolutions you care to share? Happy and healthy new year to you!


At January 11, 2013 at 2:40 PM , Blogger Miss Bougie said...

I've been following your blog for a while now and I really like your musings. I've been living in Paris for a long time, am married to a local, and you always give me the opportunity to view the French, les parisiens to be more exact (as they are a tribe all by themselves, as you surely know) and their quirkies through new eyes; certainly less jaded than mine. :) It's so refreshing. Thank you so much for that.

Happy New Year to you too, Paige.

At January 12, 2013 at 1:21 AM , Blogger MareeAlison said...

A very interesting thought. I realised after reading this that I go through life sometimes apologising to people who bump into me, not the other way round and that's just one example. I always seem to be saying 'sorry' when I haven't done anything. I do speak up for myself but it rarely gets me anywhere, so for me I may just try not to react to others and things happening around me. I rather admire those cool people who let things float over them. Thank you for the inspiration.

At January 12, 2013 at 8:04 AM , Blogger Paige said...

What a lovely comment! Thank you for making my day. If this little blog brings a bit of joy or reflection to anyone's day, that's enough for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for reading mine.

Warm regards,

At January 12, 2013 at 8:07 AM , Blogger Paige said...

Hi MareeAlison - I find that the more I "take on" what's happening around me (unless it's joyful, good stuff of course), the less settled I feel. Here's to letting things "float over us!" Thank you for reading and commenting.

Bonne annee,

At January 13, 2013 at 9:52 PM , Blogger labergerebasque said...

VERY inspiring post. Thank you :)

At January 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM , Blogger Paige said...

That's so nice to hear. Thank YOU and here's to a very happy, "inspired" year ahead!

At January 16, 2013 at 5:06 AM , Blogger Mili said...

I like how appreciative you are of what you have - you say how "ridiculously blessed" you are with your family, friends and work that you do. It is strange that I don't hear many people say that... most people seem to be complaining about their situation, myself included, and are not trying to make the best out of what they have...

Sitting on a couch in Chicago and reading your post made a really relaxing evening. I feel like I've been where you've been by reading your post. Thank you for sharing your experiences, your thoughts and doubts so openly...

At January 20, 2013 at 11:31 PM , Blogger taxidia4fun said...

Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family too. I have just found your blog and since I love Paris I will be reading you.
Our resolutions for the next year is that despite the crisis we intend to travel all around the world. Hope we can do it.

At January 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM , Blogger Paige said...

Bonjour and welcome! So glad to hear you'll be reading along. Your travel resolution is fabulous and I send you all best wishes as you endeavor to make it come true. Thank you for commenting!

At January 21, 2013 at 4:12 PM , Blogger Paige said...

Thank you, Mili, for making my day! If what I do here on this blog reaches one person, that's good enough for me. The older I get, the more I realize the power of expressing gratitude. It's not always easy but it can be transformative. Bonne chance!

At June 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM , Blogger Joy24 said...

Paige, I just came across your blog today and have only read a tad, but loved this post. It reminds me of the type of self improvement I find myself working on from time to time.

It really is amazing how just a mindset can affect our outlook, attitude, and happiness. It's true - a changed mindset works (amazingly enough). The times I've worked on my self confidence or 'living in the moment' in this manner has only been a positive experience. It seems to take practice and repetition though and it's hard to remember to work on these things each day. I live in the US where it's surprisingly common to feel bad about yourself for whatever reason, big or small. Time to be done with it!


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