Photo by Anthony Watson @ateliervime
I had wanted to compare. And look backwards to see where I had been a year ago. I was convinced that I was "better" then.
However, life is not linear, so why should I be?
You see, it was my birthday on Friday and now I am 48. Which seems like a fine age, actually.
I can almost hear the paper scrape of turning the page in my mind as I have imagined it so many times. And yet the truth is that I am not yet all the way there. Still no definite job, still living out of a suitcase, jumping from house to house. Emotionally moved on yes, thankfully, despite the occasional angry fires, although not getting to where I want to go in any aspect of practical life, no matter how hard I have insisted.
But that does not make me a failure. And in these past days, the word that has risen like a wave again and again is resilient. I am resilient.
I have not given up on my dreams even when it has been suggested - always with true kindness - that perhaps I am hurting myself to stay. And if I do have to cede that it is just not going to happen for me in France (money is running out), then I will take my hoping elsewhere.
There are certain people who are embarrassed for me that I have not found my way here yet, who have shuffled away without looking me in the eye. But I am not. I have seen how hard it is to make one's life alone as a foreigner in France, and most certainly as a woman without means.
My heart is still true. I am sticking to what I know in terms of beauty and creativity and love because it is what I believe in.
It has been an incredible year with strong experiences. I dared to take the plane to come back to see, then vowed to try and stay when I knew that my couple was indeed over. I know what it is like to be with a man who is not my ex and to feel deeply appreciated. I fell in love with a mysterious city. I nursed Ben through the end of his life and let him go with peace.
Still here. Resilient. "At 48? You are still a baby." I heard that the other day. And I agree. Not only because age is relevant (albeit often inconclusive) but because there is much in me that is in awe, that marvels at this life, just like a child. Just maybe - or not - with wiser eyes to see.
PS. I actually had a lovely birthday. I stuck to my tradition. Those of you who have been reading here for some time might remember that it is of seeing art. My friend Anthony had invited me over for drinks afterwards but when I arrived, it turned out to be for a candlelight dinner with several of his fascinating friends. Bellinis were served. I am acutely aware that in all important moments of this past year - from Christmas onwards - I have been under the protective wings of true friends and my incredible family. How grateful I am for them. And for you.
PPS. Curiosity did not kill the cat. :) Only after hitting "publish" did I go back to see where I was last year, after all. If you wondered the same, you can find out by clicking here.