“Ennui is your secret garden. And solitude can be a luxury.”
Walls plastered with various renderings of La Tour Eiffel, pink maps of Parii, and rainy days on les Champs-Elysees, my apartment is an overt ode to my borderline disturbing obsession with the French capital. It’s fitting, then, that my cousin bought me a book entitled How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are for Christmas, and equally unsurprisingly that I’ve already devoured the better half of the effortless-chic-how-to.
Yesterday I was in great need of a mental health day. Excused from work, I decided to sweat through a 90-minute yoga class (#stillcantarmbalance), swim some laps in the pool, and take myself to Providence’s favorite little vegan bakery, Wildflour, for a smoothie and some lemon ginger tea. Of course my Parisian guide to “love, style, and bad habits” came along with me, and one passage in particular, “Off The Radar”, stood out to me, so much so that I copied the entire thing down into my journal. It’s a rather long piece, but here is one section:
“You are anonymous in your own city; no one knows your age, who you are, or what you do for a living. In this moment, you can regain control of your life. feel the beating of your heart, take a deep breath and listen to yourself. Do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Savor these stolen moments. They help you regroup, and belong to no one else. You alone are responsible for what happens to you.”
The passage seemed to be very relatable and real, like the pages were speaking to me specifically: out on a date with myself, doing absolutely nothing and reveling in the beauty of it, it was as if my Parisian transformation was already underway.
As I approach my 23rd birthday, I’ve been looking back on this past year and all the things that have changed in my life. In the past 11 months I have learned a great deal about myself, about being a young adult, and about the value of spending time alone. The passage closes, “Ennui is your secret garden. Solitude can be a luxury.”
In our idle times we find quiet pleasure, in solace we meet our true selves.