As I finally start to descend the giant mountain of French paperwork and see through the fog of too many administrative tasks, I realize that it’s time to detox. Yes detox. As I impatiently waited in the long, painfully slow supermarche line today, I felt the restless thoughts of “gotta go”, “gotta hurry”, “why is this damn line moving so slowly??” filling up within in me. I felt anxious and irritated as I looked at the only cashier (even though others could have opened), moving each item across the scanner as if she were in a slowmo contest. I found myself thinking “this would never be so slow or inefficient if I were in the US…” But then it donned on me- I’m not in the US and I don’t really have all that much to do. Ok yes I still have to completely dismount the mountain of paperwork…but today was the first day where much was accomplished and I could go home and relax a bit. And that’s when I realized it’s time to take a few steps back.
The US, Boston in particular, moves at such a fast pace. I was working two jobs, 50+ hour weeks, taking night classes, planning lessons, applying to summer jobs, trying to squeeze in the gym and catch up with friends, as well as find time to create. Yes I know people accomplish far more and some even have kids to add in the mix, but the point is, that I was constantly going. Even when I didn’t need to rush somewhere, I walked quickly. If I had a moment of free time I felt guilty or overwhelmed with all the things I felt like I should be doing. I was agitated easily and wayyy more rude. Now some may say that these are elements of survival in a bigger city, but for me, a person who is already going all the time, it’s nice to stop in a small town in France once in a while and be reminded of simpler things.
True, right now I have the time and privilege to slow down a bit. I’m not working that many hours and I’m in a small town. But there really is something to the French way of life. They know how to savor a meal (rather than scarfing and inhaling their food), how to take a breather with a cup of coffee, laugh with coworkers, and actually take a real lunch break.
So as I left the supermarche, I tried to slow down, to feel the old cobblestone beneath my boots, to listen to the french around me, and to take in the smells of Montbeliard. But after a while clouds of cigarette smoke accosted my nostrils and my grocery bag dug into my shoulder, so I picked up the pace. I guess it’s gonna take a little time.
I don’t know if I’ll ever really stop being one of those people who is constantly going and doing, but I do know that once in a while it’s good to try to stop and detox.