I start this week with a quote
“Presentism occurs because we fail to recognize that our future selves won’t see the world the way we see it now. As we are about to learn, this fundamental inability to take the perspective of the person to whom the rest of our lives will happen is the most insidious problem a futurian can face.”
Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert
Ok so what does this mean? Well apart from some of the jargon, to me this is about our inability to see the future as it will truly be, that who we are now and the circumstances we are in now colour our view of the future. Think of all those programs such as Towards 2000, Beyond Tomorrow, and of course The Jetsons (I still want a flying car). We think of our future as a slightly different today.
So how does that apply to my week? I guess it is partly how I’m thinking about me at the moment; there was always an image in my brain about France and what I would be like in France. Of course the reality of what is, against what was imagined is so different. It is hard to project what and who we will become. I always thought I would be fluent in French by the time I came to live here – of course I’m not even vaguely fluent (I can order coffee and wine – so two good things). I always imagined I would look like a sophisticated Parisian women! All long legs and beautifully dressed. Don’t know where that came from, still look like me – ask anyone who has known me for a long time – I still look the same (I don’t think I’ve really changed since I was about 4).
But I guess the interesting part of this is the fact that as I once again start a journey, I wonder how it will end. But that image is created by who I am now, so how accurate will that image be. So part of my new journey – dare we say it – I’m once again on a weight loss diet. I’ve never been thin, thin, don’t really want to be, but I have been fitter and healthier than I currently am and would like to be again – part of that is not being a size 16/18. I found an Australian website that allows me to work out my menu plan on-line and just tick a button to have Fodmap friendly food options, which is fantastic, because having to adjust normal weight loss diets with my medical diet is very, very, difficult and now most of those problems have been removed. Combine this with the exercise that I’ve been including in my life and I’m hoping that by the time I go to visit my family in Australia I’ll be fit, healthy and thinner (think of the clothes shopping – assuming my future self will enjoy clothes shopping :-)).
The other part of my new journey – apart from living in France – is learning French, you would think that living in France, learning French would be easy. It’s surprisingly hard. So many people speak English and like to practice their English. There are also a large number of English speaking (English, German, Dutch) people in our area that after French it is the most widely used language. And as most people’s English is better than my French, conversations that start in French may well end in English. On Friday I started one to one classes. I already attend a conversation group, but I’m looking forward to the extra study and help. And in reality, it is relatively easily to practice as really I just need to walk out my door.
Of course part of our new life in France is the addition of our puppy. And none of us have any idea as what she will look like in the future – as we have no idea who her parents were – but I do know this she will be a well behaved dog. The puppy training is continuing. Currently we are trying to teach her not to bite at everyone and everything. It is a slow process but one that is improving. We are also continuing her lead training and she is less and less like a fish on a line. I must admit I do like the French term for a “bitsa/Heinz 57” dog, it is mange soupe which literally translates as eat soup, but means a soup of many things.
In reading back on my post today, I think it sounds overly pensive, which it is not meant to, because I actually think in not being able to accurately predict our future, it leaves us open to experience things that we never imagined. That our lives will develop in unknown and hopefully interesting ways – 18 months ago I didn’t plan on being in France until I retired. I liked to dress conservatively, have a blond bob and go out regularly. Now I’m dressing much more casually, I’m developing a bit more of a bohemian leaning, I don’t go out that often, but I still have the blond bob –lol, I doubt THAT will ever change. But ultimately I would say that I am currently the most contented and happy I have been since I was a child playing in the sun and waves on the beach.
So until next week…