Why this blog?

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Starting over

When I first created this blog in March, 2010, I was starting over – embarking on a voyage of rediscovery shortly before my 60th birthday – alone. I bought a one-way ticket to Paris, hoping to stay for at least six months – a year if possible. I was leaving behind family and friends. My marriage of 40 years was over, my two sons grown and independent. I had no job, no home, few possessions, and nothing holding me back. 
I had no plan for this trip. I wanted to follow my nose – au pif (oh peef) as the French say. Free to travel wherever and whenever the spirit moved me. No set itinerary, no advance reservations, no idea where I’d end up. 
And I did travel, did enjoy myself, did make new friends – and slowly came to heal my heart. I took some first steps at writing and photography, and was rewarded with kind and indulgent encouragement from friends and family.
And yet, after a year, my solitude began to weigh heavily. Traveling alone was no longer fun. I would go out each day to explore, only to return to an empty apartment and solitary dinner. I enrolled in an internet dating site – if only to find the occasional dinner companion. 
Then I met Patrice – a retired Frenchman who fulfilled most of the requirements on my wish list. Our attraction was sudden and intense, and within a very short time he convinced me to move in with him. For three years we spent every moment of every day together. We enjoyed similar interests and traveled extensively, both near and far. But our outings involved more advance planning and I was no longer able to follow my nose “au pif” as I once did. I gave up my freedom of movement in exchange for the security of a committed relationship. 

After three years those constraints began to weigh on me and I found that I longed for the freedom I once enjoyed. There was no blow up, no major dispute, but I knew that my path was pulling me in another direction. 

I have now left Paris and have returned to the U.S. - alone. I do not know where this path will lead, but I will continue to write and to take photographs. I hope you’ll continue to follow this blog as I explore life and love in the last third of life.


  1. Hi Papillon!
    Comment ca va??
    hope your travels were easy. Welcome to your new home. So excited for you. Hugs!

  2. Break out the Madelinne's Ms. Proust!
    Beautifully put. I am envious and not all at the same time!

  3. Ah, Elaine, how wonderful. It is an inspiring journey you're on. I'll be living vicariously through you as I have 2 teenagers, a husband, lots of volunteer work as my phase of life is remeniscent of a few years back for you. So glad we reconnected!

  4. Just found your blog,Thanks to Niffers Gnomesblogspot.com.,and love you way with words. I'll be popping back to visit some more for sure.
    Warmest best wishes,

  5. The way you express yourself in writing is utterly butterly bootiful, in fact entirely admirabubble. Love it!

  6. Wonderful, brilliant and brave. So thrilled you were able to take this chance and change your life! Bravo.

  7. Merci, vous m' avez inspiré!

    I am a French teacher and had the opportunity to live in France, in a way similar to you about 10 years ago. I went to study and ended up coming back home. I tried to find a job while there, but had not papers and couldn't stay. Besides, my school told me that I had to finish my degree now or never, I figured it was only 9 more months and then I could return. . . sigh. . . After searching the word over for a job (now having an MA in French) I found a teaching position in Cincinnati! ha. Well, I am employed, I have an old house that his kind of falling apart, two lovely pups, and a partner with a schedule that rarely allows me to see him. Now, as far as the job goes. . I'd like to leave it. I hate being disrespected daily and life is too short to be miserable. I need to make a change. . . If you can do it, why can't I? Thanks