Why can’t I just fly away?

Dear Paulo, I’ve been thinking about quitting my job, leaving my boyfriend, and running off to France or elsewhere. My French isn’t fluent, so I don’t know if I can get a job. I was thinking of maybe going to Fiji and studying French there. But I’m also signed up for a class in the fall I want to take, and our lease is up in a couple months, but we could go month-to-month then. Or my friend’s goddaughter might be interested in sharing an apartment, but if I’m leaving the country or even this city, should I really do that? And should I give up a secure job to go off without a plan?

– Suzanne, NYC (age: 40-49)

So many things you are willing to leave, my goodness! I wonder what’s troubling you? I mean, life can be hard, but you have a job, a primary relationship, evidently a decent place to live, some sense of community — and you want to chuck it all to move to a country where you don’t know anyone, do not speak the language, have no prospects??? It’s a romantic notion, but what’s going on here?

Of course, your dream could be a wonderful adventure — for a French major in her 20’s who wants to bum around France for a while (and until her folks send her enough money to come back home). But that’s not you … you are in your 40’s, evidently need to work, and you don’t know the language in a country with high unemployment and a finicky attitude about the pronunciation of its language. (Btw, they don’t speak french in Fiji … that’s Tahiti 🙂

The adventure of leaping into the unknown can be wonderful, but I sense that something more is going on here. Whatever it is inside you that is making you want to split, it’s better to bring it into the light and deal with it rather than flee in any direction its shadow may be pointing. You can do it … and it’s a worthwhile adventure of another sort!

Running away from problems — like taking a drug for temporary pain relief — only burdens you with greater pains to deal with in the not-so-long run (aka the “hang-over effect.”) Suzanne, you are vulnerable to digging a serious hole for yourself here, if you are not careful. Consult the I Ching … also, with someone wise who you feel you can trust, and tell her everything, before you make any huge leaps, OK?