Paris Portal I try my best to remember how long it’s been since I traveled alone. Where I went, when I last felt this blossoming possibility of quietly intense discovery, the possibility of returning to the pulse so firmly silenced by the minutiae of days upon days of falling further behind with every tick of the clock. Melodrama, and yet the truth of it eats away at me.

I’m certain there are bad meals to be had in Paris, and certain that the odds are good on a street just off the plaza in front of Notre Dame, but the dressing on my salad of bright greens and deep purples is as light and crisp as air, and the generous slice of quiche is so breathy and moist that, having baked a gazillion quiches in my life, I can’t imagine what alchemy has gone into this one, how the maker has combined eggs and cream and cheese and ham and crust to bring forth a meal totally unlike what I know as quiche. And it strikes me how life is like this: how often we look in the same direction we’ve always looked, grabbing the same materials to create a life day after day. I am a mix of A, B, C, and D, and that mix creates X. Why do I so rarely see that ABCD can create P just as easily? How are we clear-eyed and blind simultaneously?

I’ve come to Paris to meet my daughter, who’ll be reviewing hotels. But I’ve arrived a few days early to get my bearings on my own terms first. It was a stroke of genius, but the timing is awful. I’m hopelessly behind on several deadlines, struggling with remnants of the flu, and I’ll return amidst frenzied preparations for our biggest event of the year.

Notre Dame GardensAnd yet, of course, the timing is perfect, coming as it does at the moment before implosion. I’m at a tipping point, and I desperately need the space and time to reinvent. How much easier it is to take the hard looks and consider alternatives surrounded by strangers instead of those we don’t want to disappoint. How much easier it is to imagine change when everything I see is already a drastic departure from my everyday.

The girl at my left has managed all of her salad, a slab of French bread, and at least 4/5 of her enormous quiche. She sips randomly on a lemonade, an ice water, and a glass of white (not bothering to choose only one), scrolling her phone and smoking in the breezy sunlight. A couple several tables over pays and stands up to leave, the woman becoming louder and louder as she speaks with agitation to the owner. I can’t/don’t-want-to hear her, don’t want to know if she is French or American or Other, don’t want to wonder what stuck in her craw on this gorgeous day of freedom and light. She leaves and we all shake it off and try to move back to ourselves.

So what will it be Pam? In the last 37 hours of flight and flu recovery, I’ve slept 16 hours, read a 451 page book, eaten two meals, and downed 8 cups of tea. I’m primed. Let’s get to it.

Hôtel de Ville, Paris

10 thoughts on “Reinvention

  1. Not too many things better than getting away from it all. Hope you’re over your illness and thoroughly enjoying the chance to relish, relax, and recharge.


    • STILL have a cold but the change of view and viewpoint really helped me get my mental ducks in a row to ease that overwhelmed feeling. I love “busy”, but “overwhelmed” isn’t fun at all. Hope you are well and looking forward to having all your chickens in the house.


  2. I am on my own break. Though not alone, I’ve had down time to think of friends. You, and your blog came to mind and I realized it had been too long since I’ve read any lovely words from your lovely soul. Thank you.


  3. Thank you Virginia! It’s been a long time — I’ve been way to wrapped up in so many other things. We closed on Dad’s condo yesterday — another milestone passed and I guess it helps point me in a positive direction of the “now” rather than the past. xx


  4. Thanks for sharing this very familiar feeling. I have “jumped off the cliff” more than a few times, some I had no choice and a few others I chose to. Those times have been the scariest yet most necessary and invigorating moments in my life. They have taught me invaluable things I would have likely never experienced. I am a big cheerleader of reinvention…lifting from the settled dust! I am in that space now…floating a bit in the unfamiliar but growing with every moment 😀 Safe travels!


    • Tina I have no doubt that you’re far more accustomed to reinvention than most of us will ever be, and you seem to do it with ease. I will definitely work on channeling your always-positive energy! xx


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