Turmoil, Walking Days and a OOTD

in our garden
It has been two weeks since I arrived home from Europe. In those two weeks, there has been a lot of turmoil. Monsieur and I are two very different people trying to share our later years. Although we have known each other for thirty years, August will be our tenth anniversary.
poppies in a neighbourhood garden

Time apart is essential to each of us but coming together is difficult. I enjoy the European lifestyle (small apartment, daily walks, proximity to cultural activities) immensely so it is always a bit of a shock to return home. While I have made travel the priority for my first 5 years of retirement, Monsieur has committed himself to performing music.

Life as a performing musician involves practise, the fellowship of musicians (male and female) and later hours than I like to keep. For the months of the year that I am home, I look to our partnership for support and companionship. I find myself feeling tearful and frustrated much of the time.
What interesting park benches along the bicycle route!

Walking is an important part of my routine. When I am in Europe, I generally walk for 2-8 hours a day. My walks range from strolls to rambles through the countryside. Since I have been home, I have tried to continue this habit to stabilize my mood, to maintain my health and to develop a greater appreciation of the beauty in my own locale.

 I have always been reluctant to drive and Monsieur has been using the car to transport  music equipment. Consequently, walking has been a regular part of my routine. I am starting to use public transit to cover greater distances and I hope to be mostly car-free by the age of 65.

This Canadian window is a little different from those in my Paris neighbourhood.
It would difficult to to drive a car and to appreciate the sights of a city. In Paris, I love to read every single historical marker. While walking in Vancouver, I have found some interesting murals and plaques.
The geneticist and environmentalist, David Suzuki, is pictured on a downtown mural. I like the touch of green.
Last night, I had my first meeting of the Bible study group since my return. I find that the support of these people for each other and the fellowship bring me a feeling of peace that is difficult to explain. I'm not sure that it has a lot to do with bible study although our leader was saying that groups that had maintained the study component lasted longer than those that had taken a self-help path. Perhaps this group fulfils a part of my need for support and companionship. One of the members has asked me to help her with conversational French so I will be meeting with her in a café this week.
My great-grandmother attended this church. I discovered the marker on a walk.

I have been enjoying the simplicity of my new haircut and have chosen a softer look in clothing to complement it. Blue and grey are gradually replacing orange and brown.
Taupe and blue for city walking days.

No one has a life without upset. Our expectations are not always met. Sometimes we try our hardest and we can't get what we want and sometimes we can only marvel at the beauty and joy that is around us.  I recently read this quote from Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse:

Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again ... Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

To read more about scientific evidence that happiness is a choice.


  1. ((((Madame))))
    I love your bravery in sharing your life - thank you for your writing.

    1. I think that we all have our own stories but it is when we realize that we are not alone and that our lives are what we choose, that happiness is within our reach.

  2. That quote rings resonates with me...happiness is a choice.
    It read recently that we look for traits in a mate that we don't possess so the two hales come together as a whole...it might have been in Diane Keaton's latest book which I am speed reading. You might enjoy it!
    Keep up these lovely walks and I hope you will find beauty in the small things as they do help to sustain us when we are in turmoil.
    Take care Madame.

    1. I think that we are often attracted to those who manifest qualities that we feel are missing. As we become whole, our relationships are challenged. I had a lovely walk with a friend today and met Maman for lunch. I will borrow Diane Keaton's book from the library. I believe that she has a new movie that will be released in July. It seems to me that she is an actress who plays roles to which I can relate. I had a visit with a friend yesterday and I am so glad that I am not on the picket line.

  3. I so agree that happiness is a choice. (Unless of course once has chemical imbalances that affect mood.) I'm glad you're finding ways to maintain those practices that support and sustain you.

    1. We cannot minimize the effects of chemical imbalances and mood disorders. We have the ability to consciously choose happiness, there are many who are not so fortunate.

  4. Walking, meeting with like-minded people, paying attention to the world and choosing happiness are wonderful ways to live a fulfilled life. Love the grey outfit you've shown.

  5. Beautiful words Madame. Thank you. I am choosing to be happy.


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