I was scrolling my social media newsfeed, half asleep with an afternoon cup of coffee in hand designed to pick-me-up, when I came across a post from a friend that read something like, “Leaving the U.S. and moving to Europe.” I thought, did I misread that? But the next line confirmed it was accurate. Line two read, “Letting go of everything we own.” Yes, she and her husband, both hardworking professionals, have decided to leave their steady employment, let go of all their material possessions, and pack up two bags each and head to Paris. Though he is hitting retirement age, they want to make a change while they are able and not postpone living their lives any longer. My initial reaction, which I stand by, is good for them. How fun and exciting that they are spreading their wings and flying. But then, I wondered, could I do that now? Could I leave behind my life here to begin a new chapter with or without a little bit of reckless abandon? The question begs, would you?
Now, let me say that when our kids were grown and out of the house off to work and college, we sold our more spacious home, downsized, moved closer to my husband’s work, and began condo living in the city. Thus, I do feel we are okay with some amount of change. Though we did let go of some material things to make the move, we ultimately kept a lot of stuff. Our new place felt like home to us quickly. But our professional work schedules remained steady, our kids and friends still live nearby, and I even stayed in the same book club and still go back to visit some of my favorite shops in town. So, our journey was not nearly as dramatic as the one my friend plans to embark on.
There’s a backstory to why my friend is doing this, but the bottom line is they mainly realized that they were working to live rather than living in the moment and enjoying life. In a desire to rid themselves of the burden of managing a home and possessions, they expect to rediscover time together strolling the intimate streets of Paris, enjoying a croque monsieur at a café on Montmartre, staying at a hotel overlooking the French Riviera, or climbing the Eiffel Tower to observe the city lights below. Their focus? To regain their joie-de-vivre – an exuberant enjoyment of life – and pursue other life passions. While it sounds dreamy, back to the question, could I leave everything behind for a fresh start in a new country? Not just yet as I’d likely miss my family and friends too much – but maybe someday if we’re ready for the challenge. How about you?
Please feel free to share your response in the comments below.