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Paris was, in truth my escape.

A friend from uni’s suicide.
My Grandad being diagnosed with cancer.
Accompanying my brother to the hospital.
The bullying and unprofessionalism which seems to be a daily occurrence at my job.

Paris was my escape; into a place where I discovered beauty still reigned and where I met a group of people, Marina’s wonderful friends, that filled me with excitement. It was pure pleasure to just sit and discuss topics like politics, geography and life with people so intelligent and witty. It made me realise just how stupid everyone at my work is, so seemingly wrapped up in their own silly little lives to even give a thought to the deeper meanings of life. Surface and no substance.

The food, the fun and the company, it’s now a beautiful golden memory in my mind. I seem to collect memories like that sometimes. It’s like a mental snapshot, not just of a picture, but of a feeling. Of the undefinable qualities of a moment in time, mental and physical, which make it special. It’s like a precious jewel in my mind which I can take out and look at when I need to. When I need to remember that there are days which don’t involve silly bitches and lumbering loons.

I think one of the most profound lessons I’ve learned this year is that we can create those golden moments ourselves. I used to only be able to make them when I was around other people, people who took that moment of time and transformed it from something ordinary into something wonderful. But when we step out of our own minds and problems, we can make those happy memories of just us. Perhaps this moment, of sitting in a Starbucks and typing, is a golden memory. If I let it be one.

Of course, problems do not disappear just because of one wonderful weekend in Paris. Travel doesn’t solve our problems, only delays them. We can travel to forget, but we have to look inside to solve. With so much going on to make me miserable, and every day feeling like a battle I was being set up to lose, I decided something inside. I decided that I would be the most together, stress-free and positive person I knew. I decided that all these bitchy emails which my colleagues adore sending, all the silly and unless “feedback” they insist on giving, would simply roll off me like rain. That doesn’t mean there weren’t times I wishes I could lean through the screen and smash Sacha’s smug head onto her desk or that I willed my boss and all his verbal masturbation at the bottom of the ocean. But when those thoughts bubbled into my mind, I simply breathed and banished them away. The mind is a wondrous thing and I love the stimulation it can produce, but I think one of the healthiest things we can ever do is take ourselves out of it. Perhaps that’s what drink, drugs, sex, cigarettes and all those things are really doing; for one brief moment they take us away. We don’t have to feel anything of ourselves because we are not ourselves. Whatever it is, I decided to do it. Using the techniques I’d read about in The Power of Now and honed in meditation.

“No matter how the wind howls, the mountain does not bow” is a proverb I heard while I was in Japan. I decided that would become my mantra. All the things from people I’m unfortunate enough to encounter or have to work with which were designed to bring me down, all would simply swirl around me without touching me. Winds on a mountain. I found that it gave me the ability to laugh: laugh at their silly egos and talentless selves. I thought about my next move instead and how to get there. How to get from where I am now to where I want to be; a new flat in Angel and a new job in a top agency.

It’s doable. More than doable. In my mind I’m sure that those two goals are where my future should be. I’m certain that they are a pathway to something better. If Paris is now part of the golden memories of my past, then they are like two little candles which light my future forward; burning away all the darkness which some people in this world seem to take a perverse joy in spreading.

All I have to do is follow the lights. And when you put it in those terms, it really doesn’t sound so hard.

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