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.