I read somewhere that experiences create lasting happiness, while the joy that comes with material things quickly fades. Part of the joy that comes from experiences, even long after they are over, comes from the fact that we tend to look back on our experiences with rose-colored glasses. We remember them better than they were in the moment. When I first read about that I didn’t like the idea of it. I wanted to remember my experiences how they were, not as a idealized version of them. It really bothered me for a while, especially because I realize that I do it all the time. One of the times that I realized I was doing that same thing was when I talked about the winters we spent in Finland. I would describe the days riding our bikes from one place to another, in sub 0 temperatures, as no big deal, I’d just shrug it off. Then I forced myself to recall my specific thoughts and feelings during a particular bike ride and I’d start to remember how miserable it was. The ice cold wind cutting through my thick scarf and piercing my skin, straining to take a breath through the bone dry air, and peeling my frozen scarf from my hair once I was inside - I still can’t quite feel how that once felt, but I do know that I was not so thrilled about it at the time. So why is that so hard for me recall? Why isn’t that the first thing that comes to mind when I think back on that memory? I don’t know why it’s like that, but I think that in some way my feelings are now connected to my experience as a whole in Finland, and not just that specific day. In a way, I think less about how I felt during that particular experience and more about if it was worth it, if the whole thing was worth freezing for. When I have some time and distance from experiences, even the less than ideal experiences (or even outright bad ones), they seem to have less impact. In fact, they actually make the overall experience more memorable.
I’ve realized lately that I’ve been doing the same thing about the time we spent in Paris at the end of the summer. All I think about now is how much I want to go back. Paris is such a inspiring place. Don’t get me wrong, we actually did have a great time and love the city, but I’d be lying if I said that we weren’t yearning to get back to Texas by that last week. It was a combination of a bunch of different things, but we were struggling to enjoy every moment in city. There was an internal push that got us out, walking around, exploring, when all we really wanted to do was get on a plane and go home. At the time I felt like we were ungrateful for the time we got to spend in Paris, but we just couldn’t shake the feeling. Talking to some friends who spent a lot of time traveling and who shared similar sentiments during moments of their travels, helped us to realize that that is often part of being on the go for long periods of time. And it’s worth it. Even though I know that it’s not as rosy as I remember it most of the time. Even though I know that traveling comes with its own set of struggles and difficult moments, I never regret it. In fact, I just crave it more.
These photos were taken the first ten days we spent in Paris, when my mom and aunt came to meet us, before we got into our slump. I had so much fun taking them around to some of my favorite places and planning out our days, which mostly consisted of lots of walking, wine, and bread. Exactly as one should experience Paris.
I'm ready to go back.
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