(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2008. J'ai été transformé

It is a bit overdue, but since it is still January ... I think I still have time to reflect on 2008.

Not to sound braggy...but in 2008 I was transformed. How do I count the ways?

1. I walked away from a corporate career, replete with substantial responsibility ... and stress. Somewhere I found the courage and along the way, have built the strength.
2. I deconstructed my existence (much of the process is documented here in my blog), namely I downsized from 3 residences and the accoutrements required for same. I sorted, sold, donated and discarded innumerable possessions that represented much of what I was apparently working for ... with much relief and incredulity ... was all this shit really worth all that shit I put up with? one thinks not.
3. I prepared sheafs of paperwork for myself and my dogs ... in an effort (successful) to gain admittance to France. Others find this bureaucratic, I found it endearing.
4. I arrived in France and slept on the floor of my nearly decrepit old stone house for a month or more. I grew to appreciate how little I really required to be happy.
5. I gained new friends and insights to a way of life that I have happily embraced. I've formed relationships that to me are now priceless. I've learned to be vulnerable in the process. Imagine! ME, vulnerable? accepting of help...kindness...love.
6. I literally transformed physically in the eyes of the people that surrounded me. I went from a size 12+ to a size 6 or less ... acquiring improved health, stamina and an increased joie de vivre!
7. Most days, I am stunned at my newfound happiness and profoundly grateful for same.
8. I have found great satisfaction from being a diarist, documenting my journey and sometimes even spitting out some prose that has connected with my slowly growing audience.

I face 2009 with intense anticipation and a modicum of disquiet. For now, I begin the construction of a new life. Will I find the courage to take on the one pursuit I've dreamed and feared all my life ... writing? While I believe I have a seed within me, the potential (if properly nurtured) to grow and bloom in that regard ... the strong possibility of rejection has wilted my motivation in the past ... despite the encouraging reception when I have given serious effort.

Will I embark upon other pursuits that are in opposition to my past career? small start-ups, maximizing talents and love of food and cooking that I ignored for years in favor of business and leadership and corporations and ... blech? Will I reach down inside and find the cojones to take such efforts on independently? hmmm.

My 2009 prospects for love, work and life are positively thrilling. and positively, mind-numbingly fraught with risk and fear. fear of heartache. failure. rejection. the like.

All of those fears held me in their nauseous grip for far too many years. For me, those fears were defined in so many ways by the culture of America.

My challenge to myself is to do all in my power to be present in each day. to embrace the moments as the only ones I can truly define and enjoy. I managed to do this much of the time in 2008. Well, at least I got better at reminding myself to try.

I guess this post has ended up being mostly a summary as opposed to an epiphany. Except that last bit. And if I can impart the desire to do, even just a bit, of the same in some of you ... well, that would make me that much happier.

Yes life is scary. and letting go of what we think we 'know' is a risk. Let me tell you though, all those things I thought I knew, thought I had ... well, for me they were just a bill of goods someone sold me at a very high price.

I've still some letting go left to do. Some more trust to build. Some facts about myself I've denied that I've yet to face. Some doors I've barricaded shut that I must unlock and open. But I am on on my way. And 2008 was the springboard.

So long live 2008. and watch out 2009!


Michelle said...

It was a pleasure to read this. Thank you for sharing.

I'm really pleased I stumbled across your blog when I did. I imagine you'll have the courage to work toward all of those goals and dreams. Look how much you've achieved already!

You are on a roll, baby! (lol- I know that is a lyric from something, but I cannot place it right now)

La Framéricaine said...

Congratulations, Madame Sans Regrets!

You have accomplished enormous changes in such a brief slice of time. I quite admire you and everything that you have accomplished and shared with us since you launched your blog and your new life in France.

I am sure that you will bring to fruition all of your dreams and desires for a writing life filled with creative endeavors in France.

Chapeau, ma chère!

francetales.com said...

I can has still exist too, but I had a difficult but thrilling 2008. My 11 year relationship ended, I went into hiberation, regrouped, and I too am ready for 2009, and I am still here in France for as long as I can be here. Enjoyed your post. Life is too short to be held back.

Mrs C said...

Wonderful post. And kudos for unshackling yourself to live your dream. A lot of people could do the same.... myself included.

Re: the writing. What is your subject matter? If your preferred writing style has anything to do with children or ados, why not join the scbwi (www.scbwi.org). There's a French division and yes, it has a pretty good support group via internet which may be of interest to you.

If writing for young'uns ain't your thing. No big deal (I push the scbwi thing cause I'm a member ;-) ). Have you read "Bird by Bird" yet? It's a good writing book that informs you that you will probably write shitty first drafts first and anyway, everybody does.... I highly recommend it.

Again. Bravo!

La Belette Rouge said...

2008 was a great year for you. Actually you made it a great year. You should be insanely proud of yourself. I hope 2009 is even better.

Loulou said...

It is thrilling to read about your accomplishments of 2008. So many!
Here's to a brand new year full of surprises, challenges, delights and quiet, peaceful moments where you know you've done the right thing.
Bonne Année!

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

thanks to all for the encouraging words ... and bonne année to all as well!