Monday, May 12, 2014

Finding Myself

Shopping for picnic lunch on the grounds of Versailles
For three weeks now I've been reflecting on one of the most exhilarating trips of my life--a girlfriend trip to France and Monaco.

I have yet to post a blog about it, because I can't seem to land on one theme. My thoughts are log-jammed. So much stimulation in such a short time is hard to sift through. Plus, I continue to question what's been missing from my life to have made this trip so profoundly fun--not to mention how I might replicate the experience in daily doses back here at home.

Taking off for Nice, France
I just stumbled upon some notes I took during our seven-day adventure, about one particular afternoon I had almost forgotten. We girls were heading to the artists' colony of Montmartre for the day, and my friend was craving a mocha. One of my extroverted travel companions struck up a conversation with an American woman at Starbucks. (This was after 100 other stops in French cafes. Don't judge!)

Sharon Neuman teaches in five different French universities. She is married to a famous French architect named Gabriel Choukroun. During the course of our fascinating conversation, Sharon shared an assignment she requires of all of her students before they graduate--to write a letter to themselves to be opened in ten years, answering three questions:

Monte Carlo, Monaco

1. Who are you today?
2. Would the person you were when I knew you, be proud of who you are today?
3. What would you have done differently?
What a wonderful exercise for all of us. (Yes, kids. I will be handing you stationery on our next road trip.) 
I'm sure part of the reason behind my girlfriends' connection is how similar our answers are. We find great purpose in our relationships, careers, and are excited about our futures. We like the people we are now. And I do believe our younger selves would be proud. None of us would have done anything significantly differently, as our mistakes, choices, and wins and losses made us who we are today.
Le Georges atop the Centre Pompidou, Paris
I hope you'll take a moment to at least THINK about these questions, too. If you don't feel as positive about your answers, I hope you will seek help and tap into what's missing or what you regret. And then CHANGE it.
You may even be inspired to start socking away some savings every month and book your own trip to France! If you do, please let me know. I may have to join you.
Souvenir shopping in Montmartre

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