I met a new friend at Chapters the other day and I brought her home!
Reading Suzy Gershman’s book C’est la Vie was like connecting with a kindred spirit. Her words bounced off so many of my own dreams that I became ecstatic that someone was living, and writing, exactly where I was meant to be…in Paris, France.
After the death of her husband of twenty-five years Suzy, in her 52nd year, decided to take a leap of faith and follow through with her plan to live full time in Paris. She explained it perfectly on page one when she stated, “I always knew that one day I would live in France. This was not a dream on my part, but a fact of life, not whispered in the winds of chance, but firmly written on the mistral of my life.” I understand this feeling of belonging that walks with you when you visit a place that you love.
All of us have a dream that we promise ourselves we will set into action one day. One day, one day …it becomes background music in our mind, its tune playing repetitively to the point of being ignored. But, still we listen.
We swear an oath to self that we will turn our idea, our thoughts, and our words into a reality no matter what the cost. However, as it is with many things in life, a number of troublesome obstacles seem to clutter our path ahead—money, the lack thereof, responsibilities, and fear lead the pack. Fear, I believe, is one of the largest and most painful hurdles to scramble over.
Fear contains all the prickly thorns of the unknown and fits nicely over our hairshirt of insecurities.
What if I fail?
What if it’s not what I imagined?
What if I hate it?
What if others think I’m nuts?
What if I am nuts?
At this time of my life the echoes of the ‘what ifs’ can be deafening, and the fear of losing the dream becomes more frightening than the thought of failing. There is an ache that settles deep inside when we let our dreams fade away. Having a goal to strive towards fills our heart with purpose. The pursuit is the fuel for the soul; it adds the much-needed spice, the zing, to our everyday existence.
While reading Suzy’s book, I felt we already knew each other. Admittedly, I also felt this way when reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Projects. When I turned the page and caught Gretchen pulling back the tab on a can of diet coke first thing in the morning, I just knew we would get along just fine.
I put Suzy’s book down after carefully marking where I left off, and hit the computer in search of more information on my new pal. I was saddened to learn that Suzy Gershman had passed away in 2012 at 64. The news turned me from her book for a short time, for I selfishly felt cheated that I had found someone I could whole heartedly accept into my inner circle, only to lose her within moments of discovery.
I couldn’t stay away for long though, for her words drew me back until, once again, I was strolling through the Parisian markets with Suzy at my side.
When you read, or hear some one speak about their lives, and their words strike a chord in your own, you want to immediately gather them to you. This is not a calling that one should strive to be identical to another—our uniqueness is usually what also draws one to another—but in many senses, we are truthfully pack animals, we like to be recognized, even in some small way, as part ‘of the crowd’. Alone time is great, but there is still a craving to be understood, and to belong.
I believe too it is also justification that our hopes, our goals, are indeed attainable, that we are not only silly dreamers floating aimlessly with no hope of finding that life anchor.
I will continue to dream, and plan, and dream again. I will remember not to let go.
Thank you for that Suzie!