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Mike and I recently returned from three beautiful days in Paris.

Here’s what I noticed about this storied city:

  • There are hundreds and hundreds of cafes where people can be found sitting and relaxing at all hours of the day as though they have nothing else to do and nowhere else to be.
  • People don’t rush getting on and off the Metro like they do in New York City.
  • Everyone seems to eat lots of gluten, dairy, and sugar, yet no one is fat.
  • At restaurants, people sit and look at one another and talk instead of looking at their phones.
  • People walk down the street looking in front of them rather than at their phones.

Here’s what I also found out:

Everyone in Paris takes July and August off. It’s standard for companies to give seven to ten weeks of paid vacation to their employees.

We spoke with some friends who are expanding their business in France, and they told us that it’s completely impossible to move forward with anything business-wise for all of July and August. People are literally offended if you call them during their vacation. It’s sacred time.

Having spent only three days there, and in holiday mode to boot, I’m aware that these pieces of information do not likely cover every aspect of Parisian life and that there may be some grimmer realities going on adjacent to the practices and cultural norms described above.

Nonetheless, these practices and norms do leave me with the following important question:

WTF, America?

Part of the reason I left NYC after living there for six years was that I craved a slower, more intentional lifestyle that didn’t include constantly striving.

I wanted to recalibrate my inner compass for enjoyment and lifestyle rather than achievement.

Yet, here’s my confession:

  • I strive a lot.
  • I have tons of lofty, achievement-oriented goals.
  • I often check my phone and email obsessively.
  • I regularly find myself planning what’s next instead of enjoying what’s now.

Yesterday, I got into a bubble bath at 5:00 p.m., after a day of rain-soaked sightseeing.

It felt profoundly luxurious.

And here’s what I realized:

I work for myself, and I have a solid foundation of residual income that comes in whether I’m working or not.

I can freaking take a bubble bath any time of any day that I want.

Therefore, Mike and I have agreed to incorporate a few choice Parisian lifestyle habits into our own life.

Walking down the street, looking up instead of at my phone, having coffee to stay rather than to-go, stopping to take a bath, and enjoying what’s happening now can all be summed up in one word:

SANE.

No matter where you stand on the old reincarnation question, I think we can all agree that this one life we’re currently living is precious.

So often, we’re too busy going for the next thing, and we forget that our precious life is happening now.

No matter how great our lives are, we can always be more present in them.

Want to add a little flavor of Paris to your life too?

Practice being present with what’s now instead of planning what’s next.

When what’s next germinates in the fertile soil of what’s now, the present and the future both get a whole lot brighter.

Have you ever traveled and gotten some wisdom nuggets to bring home with you? What lifestyle tidbits from other cultures have you incorporated into your own life? What have you noticed?


Kate Northrup is a professional freedom seeker and creative entrepreneur and mentors entrepreneurs in creating their own financial freedom. She created financial freedom for herself at the age of twenty-eight through building a team of more than 1,000 wellness entrepreneurs in the network marketing industry. Her philosophy is that if you free yourself financially, you can be fully present to your purpose on the planet. Find out more and take her free Money Love Quiz to find out what your relationship with money says about you at KateNorthrup.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

*Photo Credit: Eustaquio Santimano via Compfight cc