January 9, 2017
Run Towards Your Losses
When I wrote my February 2016 Globe Style Advisor Column, I had just arrived in Paris. It was right after the Bataclan attack, which was just down the rue from where I was staying. It was also just before Christmas, which I spent alone, except for an encounter with a very elegant elder lady, but that’s another story. I painted a self portrait of myself as I looked at that moment. The jacket – a vintage Tommy Hilfiger in ripstop cotton with real gold-plated hardware – would shortly be lost forever to a beautiful 23 year old techno boy named Thomas. It was worth it.
Right now I’m deep in preparation for another four month journey away from my home-for-half-the-year in Toronto. Bless Canada, I’m very fortunate to be a citizen in this country and I’m grateful for its benefits. It is a fun moment to revisit my thoughts at the edge of what has become an entirely new way of life for me. I had decided I’d do this location-independent thing for a year and see how I liked it… what I discovered was, I love it.
I am a thirty three year old woman. I have no children, no husband, no boyfriend. I have no house, no apartment, no car, and no furniture. I have no boss, no benefits and no debts. I am writing this in Paris, where I have rented a simply furnished, slightly drafty room in the 11th arrondissement. A suitcase on the floor contains what remains of my possessions. I’ll be here for a few months. Then another city, another room, another couple months.
“Run towards your losses,” was my mantra this year as I discarded the few trappings of stability I had somehow managed to acquire as a reluctant adult. Losing things did not make me a loser; it gave me freedom. With each loss, I had less to lose. I lost a sweet boyfriend – and realized that relationship had held me back from taking professional risks. When I took those risks, I enjoyed some success – and I lost friends who voiced doubts instead of cheering me on. Then, I lost my Nana, who I worried I had disappointed by not settling down – and at her funeral her friends told me she always boasted about my ambition and wanderlust.
After that, losing my apartment, kitchen utensils, bits of furniture, clothes and books was easy.
To pack a single suitcase for a journey with no return was more difficult. I have a small but heavy bag with all the equipment I need to work. To wear, I have a tightly edited selection of my best clothes. Everything feels great, silk and cashmere and angora, a little black dress and good hosiery and real lingerie, and everything goes together. For the first time in my life, it is impossible to put together a bad outfit. Every time I get dressed, I am ready to meet my professional or romantic destiny. Or, I’ll just get lost in the city, alone and free.