The Grass Is Always Greener

Since I have moved to Paris one month ago, I’ve been lucky enough to meet locals and non-locals.  With non-locals that have chosen to move here, Paris is a world of wonder.  There’s gratitude and joy for getting to live in this city.  Paris is full of opportunities and culture.  Their dreams have been realized, and they remind themselves of this fact each day when they walk down the boulevards or pop into boulangeries. 

For local Parisians, I find that some are fed up with their city.  Complaints arise, such as it’s dirty, too expensive, too crowded, not enough nature, too many tourists, etc.  They desire to move to the country or even another country.  There is an idealization of how other people choose to live their lives.  One has lived in Japan for four years, and longs to return to Japan.  He admires the respect the people have for their land.  Another is lured by the mystique of the American West, the novelty and intrigue of the land and it’s people fascinates him.  Another spoke of Brazil and the liveliness that exists among the people there.

Both viewpoints resonate with me.  I have lived in multiple places in the world, and although currently I am a newbie to this town, I know what it’s like to despise where one lives.  Yet, it’s all a matter of choice.

I couldn’t help but think of the end of the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris.  Owen Wilson’s character is fascinated by life in Paris in the 1920s, and magically steps into that world each night when midnight strikes.  He meets another character played by Marion Cotillard who exists in the 1920s but she idealizes the time from La Belle Epoque, which occurred from 1871-1914.  In the film, these two actors jump back into that era as well.  Both characters have a yearning to be part of a reality that existed in the past, but not the present.  Owen’s character eventually realizes the disconnect that’s occurring, as he says: “Yeah, that’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying because life’s a little unsatisfying.” 

We long to be somewhere else, whether this is another city, country, or era.  This seems to be a fatal human trait.  We want what we don’t have.  But perhaps the point of life is to enjoy what you have while you have it.  That doesn’t mean you cannot change your future and where you choose to reside, but in the meantime how can you find joy and wonder in your current zip code?

Challenge: Find 5 things that spark joy in your neighborhood and share these with your loved ones (or with me below!)  

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