Seven years ago I took this photograph of the pretty sundial we used as a table at a beautiful gite we were vacating in. I still love this picture today, one of tranquillity and stillness.
At the time I took it I was just about to move from an incredibly stressful job to what I didn’t know at the time would be the job from hell. I didn’t realise just how stressed I actually was at that time, so when I then became ill with stress the following year, to us the obvious place to live in France was the region where this picture had been taken. We made our decisions based on how we felt at that time.
Now, after living in this place for five years the people who ran the gite have moved back to England, in fact many people who we have met along the way have moved back to England.
Over the years we have come to realise that is part of an adventure like this: change, not for ‘change sake’, but because we evolve, and part of evolving means that we move forward to pastures new. At the time we make our decisions they are the right ones at that moment in time, based on how we feel at that moment in time. Just as we did after our fabulous holidays in this region.
When RD and I moved here we were both burnt out, literally. My brain had been addled dealing with high levels of human emotion every day. I needed peace, I needed to step out, I needed tranquility and this place offered us all that; and it healed me. But moving on I am better, despite only realising and accepting recently that I will never go back to the person I once was; and as I write that I wonder why I thought I would, because you can never go back, you can only ever go forward.
So now we are healed we have also learned that we are not ready to retire, and we are not ready to slow down quite this much. Going back to work, and interacting with some of the fabulous people I have met has also shown me that. RD has realised that he misses the interaction with other colleagues, he misses working as part of a team. We miss nightlife, and having the opportunity to interact fully in our community.
Language is a barrier, never believe that it isn’t. Language dictates, to a certain degree, the people who you have to interact with, as opposed to those you want to. I cannot emphasise enough the huge impact not knowing a language will have when you undertake an adventure like this. There is an upside also though: you can (I won’t say will because some never try) learn the fabulous art of improvisation, and the other fabulous art of mime! And the best people we have met during this time have been French people.
So seven years ago, when the picture in this post was taken I was a very different person (not least that I can speak a little French now). I was fighting against my feelings of fear and entrapment. Going on this journey has stopped all of that, I have learned who I was, and who I am, and I know there is a ‘who I am going to be’ somewhere in the future.
More to come.