Friday, 8 July 2011

Staying Put

This month is the second anniversary of my 3rd move to France and, for the first time in my adult life, I'll be spending it not expecting to move anywhere any time soon. Spending more than two years in one place is normal for most people but to me it feels a bit strange. I will be starting a new job in a couple of months but no international move is involved, just a bit of commuting in the opposite direction from I'm used to.

Staying (nearly) in Paris was a conscious decision and I'm content with my choice. I have a great life here: a career that makes me happy, a lovely flat, great friends from all over the world, Understanding Frenchman ... the list of things I wouldn't want to leave goes on and on. I also (despite my occasional rantings) find France an easy country to live in. While there are endless fascinating cultural differences, in relation to the rest of the world, it's not that different from the UK, and in terms of standard of living, any bad points (for me, at the moment) are easily cancelled out by the good.

But although the glass is definitely well over half-full, I'm a bit of a life-perfectionist and in my more neurotic moments, I wonder if I'm becoming too settled too soon. What about all the other places I haven't seen yet? What about all those other languages I haven't learned?

But in my old-age, I fear that I'm becoming too wise. Changing countries would almost inevitably involve giving up at least some out of the fabulous food, the fabulous scenery, the fabulous health service, the strict employment laws, the (relative) freedom from corruption, the possibility of speaking the language fluently and the opportunity to pay national insurance contributions that will actually pay towards my pension.

How do you weigh up the value of these things compared to the possibility of a wonderful but unknown adventure?

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