FIVE LIFE LESSONS FROM FRENCH PEOPLE

South of France. Barcelona on one side, Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Monaco on the other, just a short drive away. Breathtaking scenery, stylish people, amazing food and inexplicable, overwhelming joie de vivre. Yes, sometimes I have to pinch myself. Is this place, one of the most visited and dreamed of destinations in the world really my home now? No wonder artists like Matisse, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Dali, Fitzgerald and many others retreated here to find inspiration. Is it because of unimaginable beauty, sweet wine or French hospitality, I don’t know, but I do know that the nonchalance of the French, which can easily be mistaken for arrogance (or is it the other way round?), will either annoy you, like when they need eight weeks to repair your car, five days to deliver your washing machine from a store across town, or when you need to make a rendez-vous for every single thing, from opening a bank account to changing your iPhone settings at the nearest Apple Store; or enchant you, like a magical potion you want to taste and become a fantastic looking laid back girl in a trench coat that sips on champagne in the middle of the day and talks about her mother’s naked photos that she accidentally found in an old album and French impressionists with the same ease. While French girls are a total different subject that will definitely be covered in a series of posts on this blog, this one is about five things that I have learned (or still learning) in the process of embracing the praised joie de vivre. To me, it’s a matter of choice. To them, it’s a matter of DNA. After all, “no one does life on Earth better than the French”.

  1. Eat Your Food

Take time to eat. Do not eat in your office or check your e-mails during lunch. Go to a restaurant or sit on a bench and enjoy your food. Drink wine. Eat cheese after dinner or whenever you feel like it. And what is life without desserts like mousse au chocolat, crème brûlée and macarons, or breakfast without buttery croissants and crepes au chocolat? Eat whatever you want, whenever you want, but always eat good, high quality, locally grown ingredients and control your portions. Do not overeat: food is not supposed to make you feel sick, but satisfied. Be present while you’re eating. Chew slowly allowing all your senses to enjoy. Food is energy and you should treat it with respect. Dining is the utmost celebration of life, so when you share food with people you love, that’s when you’ll feel most alive.

2. Invest In Your Clothes

And I don’t mean just money. Your time, energy, creativity or whatever you need to make sure that every piece of clothing you own is absolutely amazing. It should look perfect on you and it should tell everything about you before you even speak. Sell clothes that you don’t wear or give them to charity. Your time is precious and so is your space so it should not be occupied by pieces that don’t speak to you. The perfect piece of clothing doesn’t need to be expensive or new. It could be the amazing boyfriend shirt hiding in your father’s closet, or the oversized sweater knitted by your grandma, which will go perfectly with your new Zara skinny jeans and those Maje sandals that you bought on sale two years ago. See what I mean? Mix and match, it doesn’t matter as long as it looks effortless and chic.

3. Passion Is Everything

If you have to force it, if it doesn’t feel natural or easy, let it go. Fake friendships, loveless marriages or jobs that give you nothing except money. Don’t care what people think. Your time is precious, so spend it only on people and activities that make you feel alive and you are passionate about. Find a job or a hobby that you absolutely love and strive for perfection, but never go so far that you don’t have time to live. Dance all night and drink with your friends for no special reason. Celebrate promotions, weddings, the purchase of a Birkin,  Fridays, breakups and makeups. Kiss in the dark with your eyes closed. Make love all night or watch movies all night, whatever you like. Make him dinner. Buy her flowers. Swim naked. Do whatever you want to do. Be you. Do you, and do it with passion.

4. Do Not Stress…

…over anything. If you’re late, so what? Time is just a rough guess anyway. If you have an urgent task, don’t hurry, you’ll get to it eventually. Have coffee, take a proper two-hour phone-free lunch break. Don’t stay late at the office, there’s always tomorrow. And after you’re done with your workday, be really done with it. No e-mails before bed, no working weekends or vacations. That’s your well-deserved time off and if you have any unfinished tasks, somebody else will take care of it or it will take care of itself. Weekends are for brunches, family visits, hanging around the swimming pool and trips to the countryside.

5. Love

This is the big one. And the toughest one. Love yourself. Take care of your body and mind. Eat well, sleep a lot, be active, indulge yourself. Get massages, drink wine, laugh, be involved in a meaningful conversation, enjoy art. Love people around you. Invite your friends for dinner and make them your special meal. Remember birthdays and anniversaries, give flowers, luxurious candles and most of all, your time. Help those in need. Be a good listener.  Don’t judge, don’t complain and for Christ’s sake, don’t hate. Be a nice human.

Love life. Love it when it loves you back. Celebrate it with champagne, laughter, music and kisses. Be joyful and romantic. Live, breath, fall in love. Love it when it’s falling apart and punching you in your face and you have every right to detest. Love it with dignity and pride and tears in your eyes, but despite of it all… Love because you are too good to hate and to be cynical. Love because you know that the only thing in this world that can heal you and make your life wonderful is – L’AMOUR.

Bisous, Fée


/hrv/

Jug Francuske. Barcelona s jedne strane, Saint Tropez, Cannes, Nica i Monako s druge – sjednes u auto i tamo si. Krajolik koji oduzima dah, ljudi s izvrsnim osjecajem za stil, ukusna hrana i taj neobjasnjivi, zarazni joie de vivre. Da, ponekad se moram ustipnuti. Je li ovo mjesto, jedna od najposjecenijih i najpozeljnijih destinacija na svijetu doista moj dom? Ne cudi me da su umjetnici poput Matissea, Cézannea, Van Gogha, Dalija, Fitzgeralda i mnogih drugih dolazili ovamo po inspiraciju. Jesu li je nalazili u neopisivoj ljepoti, slatkim vinima ili francuskoj gostoljubivosti, ne znam. Ali znam da ce vas ta francuska nonsalantnost, koja bi se lako mogla pobrkati s bahatoscu (ili mozda obrnuto?), ili dovesti do ludila, kao ono kad osam tjedana cekate popravak auta, pet dana da vam dostave perilicu rublja iz obliznje trgovine, ili kad vas bez  unaprijed dogovorenog termina, od banke do Appleove trgovine, nigdje ne zele ni pogledati; ili zacarati, poput carobnog napitka koji ce vas pretvoriti u predivnu, samosvjesnu zenu koja usred bijelog dana pije sampanjac i s jednakom lakocom govori o golisavim slikama svoje majke koje je slucajno nasla u starom albumu i francuskim impresionistima. Francuskinje su potpuno druga tema kojom cu se zasigurno naveliko baviti. Ovaj je post o zivotnim lekcijama koje sam naucila (i jos ucim) od Francuza, kao dio procesa prihvacanja tog famoznog joie de vivrea. Za mene je to stvar svjesnog izbora i ucenja. Francuzima je to, medjutim, zapisano u DNK. Na kraju krajeva, “vjestinom zivota nitko ne vlada bolje of Francuza”.

  1. Jedi

Nadji vrijeme za jelo. Nemoj jesti u uredu ili provjeravati e-mailove za vrijeme rucka. Jedi u restoranu ili na klupi u parku i uzivaj u hrani. Pij vino. Jedi sir nakon vecere ili kad god ti se jede. A kakav je zivot bez deserata poput moussea od cokolade, crème brûléea i macaronsa, ili pak dorucak bez savrseno hrskavih kroasana i palacinke s cokoladom? Jedi sto god zelis i kad god zelis, ali uvijek, bez iznimke, jedi kvalitetne, lokalno uzgojene namirnice i pazi na porcije. Nemoj se prejedati: hrana nije stvorena da nam daje osjecaj mucnine, nego sitosti. Zvaci sporo i pusti da sva tvoja osjetila uzivaju. Hrana je energija i zato je postuj. Blagovanjem se slavi zivot, a kad dijelimo hranu s ljudima koje volimo, osjecamo se najvise zivima.

2. Investiraj u odjecu

Ne mislim samo na novac. Investiraj vrijeme, energiju i sto god je potrebno da u tvom ormaru vise samo fantasticni komadi odjece. Sve sto posjedujes mora ti savrseno pristajati i reci sve o tebi prije negoli otvoris usta. Prodaj ili daruj odjecu koju ne nosis. Tvoje su vrijeme i prostor dragocjeni i zato ih nemoj trositi na stvari koje nerado nosis. Savrseni komad odjece ne mora biti skup, cak niti nov. Primjerice, odlicna boyfriend kosulja koja se godinama skriva u tatinom ormaru, ili oversized pulover koji ti je isplela baka i koji ce savrseno pristajati uz nove skinny traperice iz Zare i one Maje sandale koje si kupila na rasprodaji prije dvije godine. Mijesaj staro i novo, skupo i jeftino, nije vazno. Vazno je samo da je jednostavno i chic.

3. Strast je najvaznija

Pusti iz svog zivota sve sto zahtjeva forsiranje i djeluje neprirodno i naporno. Lazna prijateljstva, brakovi bez ljubavi i posao koji ti ne donosi nista osim place. Bas te briga sto ljudi misle. Tvoje je vrijeme dragocjeno i zato ga trosi na ljude i aktivnosti koji te cine zivom i prema kojima osjecas strast. Nadji posao ili hobi koji obozavas te uci, radi, vjezbaj, napreduj do savrsenstva, ali uvijek pazi da ne odes predaleko i zaboravis zivjeti. Plesi cijelu noc i nazdravljaj s prijateljima bez nekog posebnog razloga. Slavi promocije, vjencanja, kupovinu Birkinice, petke, prekide i pomirbe. Ljubi se u mraku zatvorenih ociju. Vodi ljubav cijelu noc ili gledaj filmove cijelu noc, sto god ti je draze. Skuhaj mu veceru. Pokloni joj cvijece. Kupaj se u moru gola. Radi sto god ti se radi i uvijek budi ono sto jesi.

4. Nemoj biti pod stresom…

… ni zbog cega. Kasnis? Pa sto? Vrijeme ionako nije precizno odredjeno. Ako imas neki hitan zadatak, nemoj zuriti, vec ces ga obaviti. Popij kavu, uzmi dva sata za rucak. Nemoj ostajati u uredu nakon radnog vremena, jer uvijek postoji sutra, a kad zavrsis s poslom, zaboravi na sve. Nema e-mailova prije spavanja, nema rada tijekom vikenda ili godisnjeg odmora. To je tvoje zasluzeno vrijeme, a ako imas zaostataka, netko ce ih vec rijesiti ili ce se rijesiti sami od sebe. Vikendi su za bruncheve, posjete obitelji, druzenje oko bazena i izlete na selo.

5. Voli

Ovaj dio je najvazniji i najtezi. Voli sebe. Njeguj svoje tijelo i um. Jedi dobro, puno spavaj, budi aktivna, ugadjaj si. Idi na masaze, pij vino, smij se, ukljuci se u smislene razgovore, uzivaj u umjetnosti. Voli ljude oko sebe. Pozovi prijatelje na veceru i skuhaj im svoj specijalitet. Ne zaboravi na rodjendane i godisnjice. Pokloni cvijece ili luksuznu svijecu, a ponajvise, pokloni svoje vrijeme. Pomozi ljudima koji trebaju pomoc. Slusaj. Ne osudjuj, ne prituzuj se i, pobogu, ne mrzi. Budi dobar covjek.

Voli zivot. Voli ga kad ti uzvraca ljubav. Slavi ga sampanjcem, smijehom, glazbom i poljupcima. Budi vesela i romanticna. Zivi, disi, zaljubi se. Voli zivot i kad se raspada, kad te srusi na tlo i kad imas pravo na prezir. Voli ga dostojanstveno i ponosno, voli ga sa suzama u ocima, ali unatoc svemu… Voli, jer znas da jedino sto te moze ozdraviti i uciniti tvoj zivot predivnim jest – L’AMOUR.

Bisous, Fée

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