Saturday, February 14, 2009

10yrs ago — my decision to move to France

A - C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Exactly ten years ago today, after several years of travel to France, I was in my little apartment in Chicago when this crazy idea whacked me upside the head...

Go to France. Go live there.

What? Huh! How? I had a perfectly good job as an Art Director with a marketing company in Chicago. Move to France? Is this even possible? School or marriage came to mind as possibilities. But I was in my twenty's and was thinking I was [insert laughter here] 'too old' to attend school. And as much as the idea of marrying a french man is appealing to me, that would not be the way I'd have this year-long adventure unfold.

But even not knowing how this would happen. I knew it would.

I took one step. Then a few more. Found myself up at the Borders on Clark & Diversey thumbing through thick books on study abroad programs. I went home. Made a few calls. Sent a few emails (email was just catching on). Then narrowed to a few art schools. But I wanted to know more. Then in a fluke, or breadcrumb, I learned of AirFrance flights nonstop from Chicago to Paris CDG for $250 roundtrip. Yes, you read that right. I went to France for a few days to see the schools. I chose one in the south of France and never looked back.

Friends and family received a card I made that simply said: "Bonjour Y'all!"

That year, 99-00, was full of photography, painting, living, loving, eating, traveling, sharing, reading, and diving deep into life. I think that's what I do best. But years later how does something like this, so dream-like, so oasis-from-life-like, fit in to, well... 'LIFE'?

I've discovered that a decision like this reminds us, especially on days we aren't 'feelin' it, that we DO have it in us to do amazing things. Even seemingly impossible things. Ten years later I feel I'm again navigating unchartered waters. For different reasons. But much like before, I feel excited, scared, exhilarated, and hopeful. Perhaps all of us are feeling a little of that?

Valentine's Day might be a day for lovers. Or 'singles awareness day.' But since 1999 I've looked at today as the anniversary of when I proved I could live big. Steer my life. Take a chance. I'm invigorated by that year even as I write this. And I look forward to doing it again. 'It' being something that scares your pants off, reminds you you're alive. Taking a chance, even when others think you're nuts. Believing in yourself. Your inner compass. Your vision. Your life.

There's a saying that goes, if you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up way to much space. S' get on out there! See you on the edge.
IMAGE ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

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