One of the things I have been doing in preparation for moving to France is reading all manner of books about France — informational books on regions, retirement, rules, and regulations as well as books people have written about their own experiences moving their lives to France. Recently, I finished reading Living in France Made Simple by Tanja Bulatovic, a Serbian who lived in many different countries until she finally landed in Australia. At 40, she found herself in very unhappy circumstances which included a divorce. Shortly after, she a met and fell in love with a Frenchman and followed him to France where they eventually married and took up a rather adventurous life. While I am not quite the gypsy and wanderer Tanja is, I can very much relate to her story, her feelings, and her attitude about life. She believes that instead of always making safe choices, we should opt for rich life experiences. In other words, we shouldn’t be afraid to follow our dreams.
My life definitely took a turn in a different direction when I was 40. I am so thankful I had the courage to pursue new opportunities. Everyone deserves to be truly happy in life, but sometimes you have to be willing to make difficult changes to get to that place. I am very fortunate to have found a partner who values the same things I do. We both like to learn and experience new things. Many people are satisfied to remain in familiar surroundings and follow a set routine in retirement. It feels safe and they know what to expect every day. When I retire, we will have spent 12 years in the same area and while it’s an amazing location, we have pretty much explored everything and exhausted all the wonderful adventures near and far. We thrive on the constant challenge of adapting to new situations and the broadening of our perspective on people, cultures, and the world that comes with them. Moving to France will be our next challenge. Embracing the idea as we are right now with our research and French studies will bring it closer to our hearts.
At the end of her story, Tanja suggests that you should “allow yourself to fall in love a little. Be seduced.” When people ask us why we have chosen to retire in France, it’s always difficult to answer that question because there are so many complex reasons. I suppose the best answer is that we have fallen in love with France and been seduced. So now we have to see where this relationship is going. It takes a lot of patience, understanding, and compromise to make a relationship work. We have constantly practiced this with each other. Hopefully, our love affair with France will be as long-lasting and as happy as our own.