The Wise Still Wish

“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”

Peter Pan

Since I was a teenager, I always dreamed of living in France. Besides boring French class in high school, I remember spending a few months in college learning French in the cracks of my day, convinced I was headed there after I graduated. Everything about the language and culture fascinated me.

I pictured myself wandering cobblestone pathways with a baguette in hand, stopping at every bakery window or flower stand, riding my bike along the Seine, getting lost in the countryside, waltzing in and out of art museums and ancient cathedrals, and sipping tea in a café while gazing out upon the Eiffel Tower.

With four kids and a typical American life, you’d think these colorful fantasies would have subsided by now. Perhaps moving about in my minivan down main street to the grocery store and library, homeschooling a few rambunctious children, and keeping my home in order would have dulled my idyllic daydreams.

I’m not finding that to be my experience at all.

Instead my wishes of windswept hair after walking the streets of Paris are only becoming more real and haunting.  

After all these years, I am still captivated by the elegance of French people and the language, admittingly I’d love to be fluent and fit right in with the locals. I frequently think about not only traveling there one day but, if I’m lucky enough, to have the full experience of living in a quaint village somewhere close to the city.

I’m not sure if it was the European castles and charming settings in Disney movies or if it was simply my curiosity with other countries, and in particularly France, that planted the idea in my head from a young age, but regardless it doesn’t seem to be going away.

The fact that this yearning exists at all at 37 years old feels like a bit of a miracle to me. It seems I’ve stubbornly refused to become disenchanted with life. I’ve kept within my heart some fairy dust, some fledgling hope that one day I will wake up with wings and sparkles in my eyes.

Far from a sign of immaturity, I believe aging well looks like becoming not less, but more enchanted with life.

Why does there need to be any shame in keeping alive those desires we had when we were young?

Why are we gripped with a crazy fear at the mere thought of spinning off into new directions in our second half of life?

Why the strong pull to stay put and settled, with our heads down and feet on the ground, trudging through another week?

I think for many of us, it’s because we grant our everyday reality the loudest voice, and it usually it has an angry or frustrated voice at that. It’s demands our attention and pushes us around, making us a slave to the daily grind, our immediate circumstances, and inescapable seasons.

This reality you are sitting with right now does not hold the last chapter of your life, but an alluring invitation.

Far from being an agitation, our current life and season and age is actually waiting for us to stop and listen to its gentle voice.

With a newfound wisdom, we can be committed to the present, caring for the people in front of us, and engaged in the situation at hand, while also simultaneously cracking open our old travel book on Paris, rehearsing phrases in French, and picturing ourselves living in the “City of Lights,” because life is magical and we are enraptured with its call to keep exploring its streets.

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