„You are one old gypsy“, my grandfather often tells me. I am twenty-six years old and have lived in three countries. Yet I feel I have nowhere to call home. I am twenty-six years old and I have dealt with more shit than most people do in an entire lifetime – even though I did come to realise that all of us have some sort of plainful baggage to carry or another. At twenty-six, I live in Paris – which I used to consider the city of my dreams for almost half my life – in a not too crappy, not too expensive apartment. (Even though the neighbourhood is fairly shitty and I can hear my upstairs neighbours having sex way too often). I have a master’s degree in a pretty fancy sounding subject. I even teach lectures at my alma mater – something I didn’t believe I would do before thirty-five. I have a job I enjoy and that pays fairly well, in a company I believe in and which has always believed in me. I have seen many parts of Europe and also some further away places. I have had more lovers than I can count on two hands – some lasting just one night, others staying around for several years. I have the best friends in the world, some of which I have known for 16 years. Even though many of them live in faraway places, I know we share a special bond that will endure many more years of ups and downs to come. Yet when I recently came across one of this silly quotes on Pinterest, I felt truly shaken. It said: “Are you really happy or are you really comfortable?” I have been giving the question of personal happiness a lot of thought in the past years, but at this very moment I realised that while I was indeed leading a pretty comfortable life, inside I was deeply unhappy and have been so for much too long.
In Vienna, I recently went to a reading by Stefanie Sargnagel, who accurately noted that we are the generation who at thirty still ask ourselves: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” And while I have absolutely no clue what I want to do or where I want to be when I “grow up”, I know very well what I DO NOT want the rest of my life to look like. I swore myself to never regret the things I did – only those I didn’t do. At the end of their lives, nobody says “I wish I had spent more time at the office”, “I wish I would have been less adventurous” or “I should not have travelled the world”. And I do not want to end up like this either. So I decided to quit my job, to quit my apartment, my phone, my Netflix and my fancy tights subscription and to leave my Parisian life behind. I have no idea where I will be in one year, and I have only a vague plan of what this year will bring for me. But for the first time in my life, at twenty six I choose to not have a plan. I choose to travel, to see places I have wanted to see for too long, to be adventurous, to go out and to leave old habits behind. Stay tuned for my own version of #eat #pray #love!
*Image: Where the magic happens