In terms of settling into my new apartment, I'm not doing a very good job. There are still a few (too many) boxes around, I'm still sans wardrobe, I'm still taking hours to find my stuff in the mornings, and there's still no food in my fridge.
But in terms of settling into my new Parisian life, I think I'm almost there. I really thought it would be harder, and lonelier, than it has been. While at INSEAD, everyone was talking about Dubai, London, Singapore, and I was worried I was going to get left behind. Instead, I now find myself in the "most happening" city in the INSEAD world! Whether it's because of the current job market, the fact that Paris is on the way to most places, or simply because people have finally realized this is the most beautiful city in the world (there's the chauvinist in me), France's capital has definitely become a hub of INSEAD activity. At least once or twice a week I find myself surrounded by former classmates having dinner, going dancing, celebrating housewarmings or making Charlie Chaplin films (don't ask). And of course there are the old friends, the ones who have stayed true despite the Fontainebleau hiatus during which I fell off the face of the earth, and who are now happily re-found.
So here I am with a busier social life than I have ever had, requiring the investment of significant physical and emotional energy. Don't get me wrong. Despite what some have said, this is not a continuation of INSEAD. Things today are very different; this is not just another "P". The people around me are not the same as a few months ago, or the ones I would necessarily have expected to be part of my new life. Some friends have been lost (or at least temporarily displaced) by the effect of geography, timing or life's unpredictable quirks, and others gained. Happily, there are also the two or three people I am so lucky to have kept close, and with whom I am now developing something perhaps more serious, and more "real" than what we might have had during those fickle INSEAD days.
A new career, a new apartment, a new city, new bonds, new feelings (not to mention a new, historical, US political landscape - go Obama!)... These first few months of my post-third-life-crisis life have been rife with upheaval, an ever-changing cartography I'm now slowly adapting to. Fortunately, some things never change. Like the fact that I can still ramble on for hours about absolutely nothing just for the pleasure of sending my thoughts into the ether. Like the fact that it's often a strong emotional reaction to someone close to me that gets me writing, and yet I never actually write about it (is that frustrating for you, I wonder?!) Like the fact that cigarettes, beer and melodramatic music (Pink Floyd, this time) always get the creative juices flowing.
It's good to know there are some things you can count on.