James Farrow posted a blog back in October 2015 called ‘The Fear of Expectation’ which I thought was most inspiring and so much so it has stuck in my mind and made me return to it and re-read.
This made me think about my own ‘life goal’ and my experience of how I took one step to turn a dream into a goal with a few tweaks and changes along the way.
Those who know me well know that my dream has always been to live and work in France. Now that’s a selfish goal given that I have a very full working and family life both of which I love and cherish. However my French dream is something I have always held onto although I knew deep down this was never really going to come to fruition as it was peculiar to me and not something my nearest and dearest necessarily wanted to share. It was after all my dream and not theirs.
Most would consider this as a non-starter because the only two potential takers were my husband and my poodle. We discussed moving to France many times as a family and my husband kindly humoured me along the way even though I knew deep down he would kick and scream at the final hurdle unless he could get back home every weekend to play at his beloved golf club with his like-minded all weather golfing buddies.
Also, I couldn’t really pack up and leave my children, grandchildren, my elderly parents not to mention our business to move across La Manche to live ‘la belle vie’ eating cheese and drinking fine French wine for the rest of my days.
Did it put me off – not likely it made me even more determined to do ‘something’. I needed to re-group so I turned my dream into a ‘life goal’ so that it became a focus and not imaginary. In order to achieve this I needed to take action. So I broke it down into smaller more achievable components and took the small step approach.
How did I deal with this challenge and where would I find an opportunity to make my ‘life goal’ materialise? Where would my French fix come from?
In the early days whilst studying with The Open University I had spent a week at Caen University as a student of the OU where I was immersed into French culture. This gave me the confidence to continue on a path to a degree in Modern Languages specialising in French and English (Step 1)
I knew the OU ran these courses annually as a Summer School so once I was well into my degree and brimming with confidence I contacted the OU and applied to work for them in Caen full time for 6 weeks during their Summer School period as their Administration Manager (Step 2)
After several interviews including a conference call, ‘en français’ with the Faculty Head of French, my skills as an Office Manager coupled with speaking French stood me in good stead and I was offered the position – happy days (Step 3)
Imagine my husband’s response when I came home from work that day to tell him I’ve got myself a job…
for 6 weeks…
His response was…
‘You’ve already got a job ‘and ‘How much are you being paid or is this another one of your charitable ‘I’m working for free jobs’?’
Surprisingly after I told him they were actually going to pay me he rolled his eyes and said I should go because it would do me good and hopefully ‘get it out of my system’ (Step 4)
So I drove off to France with my car packed to capacity with everything I might need (and more) including a folding bicycle, TV, DVD player, Yankee Candles ready for my 6-week sojourn in France.
I lived on Campus, worked 6 days per week for 6 weeks and spoke French the whole time I was there. Not only did I throw myself into the role but I loved being ‘French’ for a while (Step 5)
My family were amazing and extremely supportive so much so when I was invited back by the OU the next year, I did it all over again with my family’s blessing (Step 6). My kids just took the view that ‘Mum’s gone weird again’ which is something over the years they are getting used to.
Living in France is still my big ‘life goal’ and with further small steps I still see it happening but for now I am content to have had the mind-power to make it happen albeit in baby steps.
To be continued…..(Step 7)