It is crazy how quickly time flies. I have been in Paris for about two weeks now, and everything is still going pretty darn amazingly. The family I am living with is so incredible, and they have helped me to feel so comfortable and so at home in just a couple of weeks. I have made some really awesome friends from all over the world, eaten lots of pain au chocolat, baguettes, cheese, and not to mention explored a lot, but not nearly close to all, of Paris. In a way, I feel like I have dived into the French culture, quite seamlessly, and am surprised about how quickly I have adapted to the French life.
It got me thinking…why? Is it that I always feel at home when I am abroad? Is it because I have lived in Paris for a few months before? Is it because I have this abnormal love for this city, for reasons I do and don’t know why?
While I think, these answers play a part in the reason I feel so at home here, I think a bigger reason is that sometimes the bad times make the good times even better.
Last year was pretty crazy and difficult, to say the least. I am not going to go on any further, because I am happy to have let that part of my life go, but I do think that it’s an interesting idea to ponder. Aside from the lessons you learn and the challenges that make you grow; the bad times, actually, make the good times better.
Here are 7 of my own reasons:
1. You learn to appreciate the little things. More and more, I have come to realize that while the big things, like moving to France, are exhilarating, it is really the little things that make life so amazing. Whether it be seeing an old French couple walk down a cobble-stoned street holding hands, reading a French story book to a six year old, or rather reading it together, as you do not know how to pronounce all those crazy French words, rummaging through old pictures and coming across the people in your life that mean the most, or if it be feeling the warmth of the sun on a crystal-clear day, while eating a baguette and fromage, in a random park you stumbled upon while wandering Paris, it is really the little things in life that are the big things. Hard times, make you appreciate the little things in life.
2. What you want out of life becomes clearer. Once you have overcome a challenge in your life, you are better able to articulate your needs and wants out of your life for the future. You learn from those challenges, and know better what you do and don’t want out of relationships, jobs, employers, philosophies, etc. in the future. You are better able to articulate what you are searching for, and thus can more easily get yourself into a situation you want to be in. If traveling is a priority, you can go ahead and do it! If you want to keep your loved ones close, even if you are far, you write postcards, Skype, Facebook messages, and learn how to make international phone calls. After you overcome a challenge, you realize the things in life you want most, at least for the time being, and do them.
3. You grow stronger and more independent. If you made it through a rough patch, the next obstacle you come across seems like a piece of cake. The obstacles seem not quite as big, the things that scared you before, seem way less scary now, and you have an infinite amount of confidence in your own strength.
4. You see clearly the people that love you the most, and see the ones who you should invest your time in. Those people that were there and supported you through the tough times, help you to see who your true friends really are. You learn who to invest your time in, and who to pour your love and effort into. Tough times, help you cherish the people you love and who love you, more fully.
5. You don’t put up with any more bullshit. Once you have gone through something that has really tested your strength as an individual, you learn how to say, “STOP!” You learn that when things are wrong, hurts you, or isn’t good for others, you can literally say, “STOP” or “Non Merci,” and choose to do something else. You can let the bad things go, and keep your hands open for the good and the better things to come.
6. You are less afraid to do what you want, and fully follow your passions. After going through difficult times, you are less afraid to do what you want. You want to move to France? You pack your bags and go. You want to take French classes at La Sorbonne? You work your butt off over summer, and save the money to take the classes and sign up. You want to learn French? You move in with a French Family. After the bad times, you fearlessly throw yourself into the good times.
7. You understand that time moves on. Robert Frost could some up this idea in three words. “In three words, I can sum up everything I have learned about life. It goes on.” Time moves on, and eventually you over come whatever difficulties you face in the present. You move on, and more fully appreciate the good things that follow.
Whether you are currently feeling like you are up or down…remember that life moves on, and you will learn and grow from both the good times and the bad times.
Until the next jab of inspiration hits,
Follow your own Helpless Wanderlust.