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I N N E R | wandering Montmartre

In lieu of today's Sunday Paper, I'm sharing some thoughts from my week in Paris. Coming up throughout the week will be all the pictures and travel guides!

When I was in the forth grade or so, we learned to diagram sentences. It's one of my favorite things I've ever learned in school, which I'm aware makes me a weirdo. It's because every word had a purpose and a place, and you could map it right there in front of you. That became a sort of theme to my life. For the most part my decisions, my time, and even the things in my home all have a purpose and a place, and I could map it if you wanted me to. I don't wander. I destine. 

Wednesday, July 8. I'm writing this from Paris. Last Friday around lunchtime, I booked a flight completely on a whim, and less than 24 hours later I was on the first of three planes to get here. From the very onset, this trip has been a lesson in living outside of comfort zones, for although I love adventure and even challenges, I prefer calculated ones that I have time to prepare for. 

Today things went to a whole new level. I got off the metro at Montmartre and started walking. Just walking. I wasn't sure what I intended to find first from my mental list of things-to-see there, and in fact, I wasn't even looking for any of those things to begin with. I just wanted to... see... whatever there was to see. My inner sentence-diagrammer argued with me about using time efficiently and the dangers of being lost, but as I turned onto a quiet, tourist-less street and the thrill of embracing the unknown tickled me like a mild electric shock, she shut up quick.

A side street cut out from my side-street and I could see that it was a dead end. I turned down it, to see what there was to see. French Kimberly, I thought to myself, is very different than regular Kimberly. The houses were beautiful! In the prettiest colors, with vines growing on them and curtains in their big windows and little gates out front. I took pictures. 

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This feeling, I told myself, is what I need to return to when things go off the grid in my life. When there's a situation I can't control, when an outcome is unknown, I want to recall this feeling of thrill mixed with calm. This chaotic confidence that what I may discover on dead end streets matters more than getting to a pre-determined destination on time. Or at all.

I think the best moment at all was when my quiet street came right out to the back side of the place du tertre, the square where artists sit and paint. It was just where I had wanted to eventually end up, though I got there from the opposite direction.

Il est vrai , je suppose: Pas tous ceux qui errent sont perdus.
(It's true, I suppose: Not all who wander are lost.)

Want more from my Paris trip?
I'll post a different part of my travel guide complete with pictures every day this week! 

 French Kimberly on Montmartre. 

French Kimberly on Montmartre. 

I N N E R | the ground floor

On the days we're faced with stress or adversity, like a conflict with a close friend or a seemingly unsolvable challenge at work, it helps to go to our ground floor. Sometimes I mean this literally. I had a conversation last week on the phone with a friend in which I had to be really raw and exposed with my feelings, and it helped me to literally get on the floor of my apartment while we talked.  But I also mean not literally - to visit the ground floor of our personalities. 

For me, the ground floor of knowing yourself is being able to define yourself - the way you process things, the way you react to things, your preferences in environment, how you manage relationships, from where you get your energy, what makes you excel, what challenges you. And one of the best tools for doing such a thing is knowing your personality type as defined by Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology. 

Do what now!?

In college I took the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, which was inspired by Jung's theories, and learned which of the 16 unique types I fit into. Throughout the following decade, I have continually reached for information on my type to learn more or remind myself about why I am the way I am. 

The best news of all is, thanks to the internet, you can take a test for free to find out which type you are! There's also plenty of info available on each type from various places like wikipedia (great summary detail) to buzz feed (memes and gifs for fun). I highly suggest you take the time to discover your type and study up on the inner workings of you! 

WHICH TYPE ARE YOU? 

I N N E R | half my life

This past weekend I was listening to music and doing my makeup when suddenly I had a mysterious flashback moment. All of a sudden I felt very clearly what it felt like to be sixteen, at the start of a carefree summer, eager for real life to begin in the coming years. I let it wash over me, being that girl again, and then just as quickly as it arrived the feeling was gone. 

As I analyzed what may have called forth such a thing, I realized that 16 is half of 32 and also that it was the beginning of June when I was 16 that I had my first "music business" experience, the one that set me on the course to move to Nashville and start doing what I do today. I googled the date and found that it was June 6th. So exactly 16 years ago this past weekend I began, little by little, to build this career. And I've been doing so now for half my life. 

I say this a lot to the young women I speak to or mentor, and I mean it so very deeply: You are already becoming the woman you're going to be. 

Whether you're entering college with no real idea of what you want to do with your life, or a recent college graduate who knows what you want but aren't sure how, or how quickly, you'll get there, here are some things to remember:

JUST WORK.

I managed an artist in college, and there are days now, a decade later, that I call upon the experience I gained way back in those days. However silly or even unrelated you may think the work you're doing is, it will somehow serve you in the future. 

BE REALLY FREAKING PATIENT.

Seriously, y'all. It takes time, a lot of time, to gain experience, to build credibility, to develop a valuable network, and to learn how to be the (dream role) you want to be in the very best way. Don't just put in the work but also put in the time.

LIFE IS LONGER THAN 30 YEARS.

If you're in your twenties, chances are you've counted at one point or another all the things you want to accomplish in life: dream job, marriage, family, home ownership, lake house, travel all over Europe... and chances are you've imagined doing most of those things before you're 30 or maybe 35. Well, I hope you don't. Because then what will you look forward to in the following decades? Coasting? Gracious, that sounds boring. If you aren't being challenged, you aren't living. Don't forget your thirties, your forties, your fifties, and by all means keep going. The best is yet to come. 

To cast a new light on the "life's like riding a bike" metaphor, think of it like this. Those first years of your life, the first sixteen of mine, were like riding a bike with the training wheels on. Without risk or concern for what was to come. The next set is like those first rides without the training wheels. Fear, uncertainty, skinned knees that may leave scars, doing it well before falling again, learning. Be grateful for the wounds, for the practice, and though you may still fall from time to time, for the glee that you feel with the wind in your hair when you hit the next sixteen years.

Just remember, you still have to pedal to keep moving.