While in the throws of packing our house I came across one of my old ‘profile’ books. You know what I’m talking about right? The book that friends (or many cases your frenemies) would ask you to write in to divulge sensitive information such as what your favourite food was or, at the grand old age of 14, what your choice of liquor was. I remember how privileged I felt when some kid asked you to complete theirs or when one of the supposed ‘popular’ kids was actually happy to write in yours – slightly easing your fears of being too ‘un-cool’ to associate with. I also remember how much thought went into tailoring your profile to look interesting. I guess in some ways it was the precursor to Facebook. Do 14 year old kids even have profile books anymore? I’m seriously curious to know!
On reading through the various profiles of my nearest and dearest (at least at that point in time), I came across some pretty hilarious as well as some fairly accurate answers to the question ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?’ One aspiration that had me laughing came from someone who shall remain nameless but who I love dearly. She’d hoped to be celebrating her 30th birthday with a hot guy. In fact she’s getting civil unioned this very weekend so will be celebrating her 30th with a hot girl instead! Then there were the dreams that didn’t quite come to fruition, like the high school sweet hearts who everyone thought would be together forever and who would have the white picket fence and 2.4 kids, or the friend who had dreams of becoming Brittany Spears’ designer and whom in their spare time would be hanging out with the rich and famous.
As for me, funnily enough I had stated “I’ll be living in another country, I don’t know where. I will have travelled all four corners of the world, or at least halfway”. At present I have travelled to North, Central & South America, Asia and Europe, so I guess you could call that 3/4 corners of the world. And I have just received my French long-stay visa thus on my way to completing my vision of living in another country. So despite France not being somewhere I specifically intended on living, I have always had the desire to live overseas at some point in my life.
After having plenty of fears and anxieties I have finally come to a place where I really am excited about this move, so it was serendipitous to re-discover my profile book. It’s reminded me of the freedom of teenage dreams. It’s reminded me of the fact we were once free to humour ourselves and our friends with some ridiculous ideas because we simply weren’t weighed down with inhibitions or reservations. Nor were we afraid of becoming a casualty of the insidious disease that is the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ (this distasteful part of our culture has always pissed me off. Why can’t we just be happy for people who are successful in their pursuits? Why can’t we share in other people’s pride and joy? Why must we bitch and backstab people because we can’t admit to our own insecurities? – nuff said about that!). Most of all, discovering my profile book has reminded me of my dreams and aspirations.
Thirteen years ago I’d envisioned that I’d be living in another country and I’m about to fulfil that goal. I am under no illusion that it will be difficult. To the contrary, I am very aware of the multitude of ways it will be difficult but if I’m to be true to myself, I will try my damndest to learn about, appreciate and enjoy la vie Francaise.