Theme of the Year

We don’t make resolutions, but we do have themes. It’s a watchword or phase that we use to guide plans and decisions over the coming year. Distilling into words what we’re aiming for. It’s not a to-do list, but we do have parameters, otherwise how would we know if our aim was true? Starting in December, we start looking back and looking forward. Assessing what worked, what didn’t, and tossing out new ideas. Anything is game at this point. Then we mutter about them and discuss them till the winner becomes apparent. Our themes don’t have to be identical, but it has worked out that way. Thankfully, because sometimes they’re a little unusual. (Oh, your theme is Focus? Mine is Fly, be Free. See you next year.) And themes have abruptly changed in February. February can change your mind about anything, but it’s legal when you’re the one making the rules. One of my favorite prior themes was “Here be Dragons”, as we prepared of go off map (or rather off life-script) and test nomadic waters. Then in the way that life can show you marvelous synchronicity, (or coincidence, depending on your philosophical inclinations) we started running into dragon legends wherever we traveled. When we sold our company and were facing the vastness of the end of structured days, the theme was “Relax, it’s about to get weird”. And it did, but that was the point of making that leap. And we relaxed.

Last year’s theme to start our first full year of living in Paris was “The Age of Exploration”. Since one of our intentions in moving here was to use the tiny house as a base for travel and Paris is a major transportation hub, we were the proverbial kids in the candy store. We spent almost half the year (23 weeks!) away, and that’s not counting  innumerable day trips and overnights. I think we hit that theme out of the ballpark. But lately I’ve been looking at my long and ever longer travel list and for once, I wasn’t revved up about it. I told Mark, I don’t want to have lived in Paris, and not have lived in Paris. Thus this year’s theme: Get out of the Shallows. Or maybe: Dive in.  Our theme doesn’t have a catchy phrase yet. But the general idea is this: stop skimming the surface and scattering yourself wide and thin. There are scads of places just in our neighborhood I have yet to set foot in. I want to settle in and be a regular. Be a neighbor. There are places where we are regulars and being warmly greeted is one of the joys of going there. I feel like we’re only taking advantage of a fraction of what this city offers because we’re always in-between.

This year’s theme isn’t just about parking it in our neighborhood and settling in. It’s also about attention span. Which is to say, I’d like it back. I’d like to sit and read a book for a couple of hours without distracting myself every five minutes with wanting to jump up check something else. I want my old analog attention span. This means I have to stop obsessing over American politics and U.S. news in general. If anything big happens, let me know okay? I’ll be in the cafe reading LeMonde 😉

Our plan thus far: stay put, for the most part. We will choose at least one new neighborhood restaurant or cafe a month, and return to at least one old one. We will join something local, either the tai chi studio or a workshop. We will have severe restrictions on online time. This doesn’t mean the end of travel. We are still planning to meet a few friends in a few foreign destinations. But it does mean that the majority of our travels this year will be at a walking or train’s pace. Unless that damned February changes our minds.

Until next time.  Cheers!

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  1. Great post! Slowing down and spending time locally is also good advice for people living in their origin country too.


    1. Hi Mark, Thanks and I couldn’t agree more! When we lived in Chicago we would sometimes do a “treat your town like a tourist” day.


  2. Hey M & M. loved your post. we too have been thinking along the same lines, specifically about going deeper. AND about going offline. we’ve been trying one day a week to minimal success, but in general i feel i’ve been using it less so its a start. Good to see you 2 with Spark & Danielle. I hope we can come be a part of your neighborhood for some days in the near future as we attempt to escape from this crazy land. Here’s to exploration and being still. Cheers, and Merry New Year. Dan & Laurie


    1. Hi Dan and Laurie, There’s no real escape unfortunately. There’s a degree of crazy wherever you go, but at least here there are pastries! Please do come be a part of the hood, even if only temporarily.


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