As 2018 comes to a close I took some time to reflect on the year and to decide on any resolutions or goals I wanted to make for the fresh new year which was blooming. Instead I was left with an important reminder, that of the importance of friendship and community.
2018 got off to an exciting start a fabulous trip through parts of Thailand, Malaysia and Nepal and although I returned to Paris fully recharged, the juice in my batteries seemed to deplete all too quickly. My winter trip had actually been something of an escape from a big personal disappointment I’d had in the autumn. While the trip had distracted me from the latter, it hadn’t remedied it, allowing it to creep back to the surface of my mind. In addition to this, two lengthy projects I had been working on came to a close, but were then in limbo, leaving me with even more of a void. What was next?
I wasn’t sure I wanted to start up another novel-like book. As much as I enjoyed writing my first two, they were so much work I wasn’t sure I wanted to apply my energy towards a third one just yet. I was getting more article gigs, however, still without a goal or project motivate me, it seemed like I was floating aimlessly along the open sea of life without any sight of land on the horizon.
I drifted through spring and into summer, my mid August birthday marking something of a turning point. Some new ideas were stirring, pushing me back to shore, landing in autumn with sights of this new project becoming clearer. It was in this state I found myself in Milan in mid November, finishing off another delicious plate of my surrogate Italian mamma’s homemade pasta when I explained to her and my Italian sister about my blog’s nomination for the Expatriates Magazine’s Best of Paris contest as the Best Blog in Paris. I’ve worked very hard on my website over the last six years and felt like it was worthy of winning. Nevertheless, I was in second place and wasn’t sure if I was going to make the effort to seek out the many votes I’d still need to win.
“You’re not just going to let this other person win!” my sister adamantly exclaimed. So she proceeded to motivated me into rallying my friends and community to vote. We started with our Italian friends and this wave grew higher, cascading into France and splashing across the Atlantic and then the Pacific. Votes were coming in from all over the world and from old friends, new friends and wonderful members of the Je T’Aime, Me Neither Facebook community. This wave of friendship crescendoed on November 25th, when it looked like I locked in victory, which is now official (more on that here)!
This victory wouldn’t have been possible without this everyone’s support. In an age of seemingly individualism, what became more important than the actual contest was the power of friendship. Sometimes we feel alone in this world, like we are cast out at sea, however, we are not. Our friends, family and community will always be there for us, they are our strength. We have to feel comfortable to reach out, but true friends will drop anything to be there for you. This valuable reminder has forged my “resolutions” for 2019: to persevere and to be the best friend I can in return.