For many people, the beginning of a new year is a time to declare the things they are going to stop, change or begin, such as quit smoking, save money, stop drinking wine during the week, and learn French. These declarations are referred to as New Year’s resolutions.
For people who are the creative visionaries of their own lives, we treat each new year like a new chapter from our life’s story, with ourselves as the main character and the author. January is an opportunity to check in with ourselves, a time to reflect on the previous year, and to look ahead to the new year. If we don’t like where things are headed, we can give it a plot twist, write a new chapter, or launch a new book in a new genre. It’s an opportunity to refocus so that we don’t accidentally drift to becoming something we never intended or worse, let someone else tell our story for us.
Stories are fundamental to who we are as human beings, and who we want to be. No culture has existed without them. Stories are how we communicate, remember, and apply significance and meaning to facts. We may not always get to decide what happens to us, but by looking at life like a great story, we get to decide the meaning that we assign to our circumstances, and more importantly how we show up as the main character.
As the authors of our own stories, a new chapter begins when we say it begins, like right now for example.
There is one thing that all the Expatriate Magazine readers have in common, our stories all share the same backdrop– Paris!
Gabriella left her successful publishing career to join her husband when his job promotion catapulted them to Paris. She speaks very little French and is lost without the structure and identity of her pervious publishing role. She is faced with the decision to accept a new role as homemaker, or reinvent her career in a new country. Perhaps it is time to take a risk on herself. Her 2017 chapter: Start my own business.
Niels was just passing through Paris while on tour with his theatre troupe. He didn’t expect that he would fall in love with the Parisian stage manager. Fast forward 20 years, two dogs, one apartment and country house later, he finds himself facing retirement from the theatre he’s been managing. He wants his story to reflect his lifelong dreams and ambitions.
His 2017 chapter: Resurrecting his pre-Paris dream project.
Marie is a recently divorced mother of three young girls. She feels obligated to her children and their stability but yearns to pursue her interest in yoga and mindfulness training. She has a dream of traveling to hold intensive workshop for schools and teachers around the world. It is complicated by her commitment to her children but she is confident that where there is a will there is a way and she wants to lead by example. Her 2017 chapter: Breaking through barriers with creative solutions.
Michael followed his business career all the way to his company’s headquarters in Paris. After a tumultuous company merger and re-organization, he finds that this career path may no longer suit him, and he wonders what would have happened if he had pursued his passions instead of professional success. His 2017 chapter: Inspirational forces as a guide.
Theo always dreamt of living in Europe. Each time he visits Paris, he makes a wish from atop the Pont Marie, “I want to live here!” As a successful beauty professional in the US, can he continue to thrive, living full-time in the City of Light? Does he need to put his dream of owning a salon on the back burner? Are the two exclusive? His 2017 chapter: Go big, or go home: a roadmap to Paris.
Ann never expected to stay in Paris after obtaining her advanced university degree. Yet she’s been tirelessly applying for employment at Parisian art galleries and museums to prepare for her bigger dream– creating a multi-cultural artist residency in the French countryside. The only problem is that she is rejected at every turn. “Argh! What is wrong with me?” She doesn’t want to give up, so it might be time to open-up to outside of the box thinking for reaching her goal. Her 2017 chapter: An alternative path to the dream.
So, what is your story?
Is it what you had envisioned for yourself? Or is there something more interesting ahead? Perhaps you have a yearning that you can’t quite put your finger on– will 2017 be the year that you address a potential later life regret while you still have time to act on it? How will your main character show up in this new chapter? These are exciting times and the choice is yours. It is up to you to make it a chapter worth re-reading.
By Julie Hosler
Julie has been in the strategy and transformation business her entire life. She created The Strategic Space for people to restructure their own narratives to something that is aligned with the story that they hope to tell with their existence. Check out her next Personal Strategy Retreat which will be held at Chateau de Mailly, April 5-9, 2017. For more information, visit: www.thestrategicspace.com/retreats