Happy Holidays and Happy New Years!!! Joyeuses Fêtes 2006!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Years!!! Joyeuses Fêtes 2006!


It’s that time of year again and how fast this year passed! Being far away we decided to put together a letter for you to enjoy with a glass of wine or cup of tea .


On vous souhaite de Joyeuses Fêtes et beaucoup de Bonheur, de joie, une bonne sante, que vous realisiez vos rêves les plus chers!



To sum it up;


this year has been tremendous for us as individuals and as a family. Jean has made tremendous progress on his doctorate and is finishing the last phase of the dissertation research. His focus is in Clinical Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine and his research is on the psychometrics for differential diagnoses of dementias. Simultaneously we are progressing in writing our book on our personal experiences with midlife transition (set in France) and have completed ten chapters to date with the push to sell it soon. We have had to change focus three times but our editor is happy with the approach and it feels right! Between these two major project goals and Zoé-Pascale’s schooling and activities we are as busy as ever but in a much more balanced and simplified way.


Meanwhile I have excerpted some words from our blog that depicts where we are in our process of transition:


Mid-Life Pickle


Jean and I have been talking a lot lately about our time here in France and our transition to the next phase of life. “Is it a midlife crisis?” I asked him. I hate the word crisis as it sounds so negative. So doing a lot of writing, I looked up the word crisis in the thesaurus and found a few words; big trouble, catastrophe, disaster and my more personal favorites, pickle, plight, stew. After reading the synonyms I moved to the antonyms which are what we are really after; calm peace of mind and serenity. The fact is we were in a stew and desperately needed a drastic change. We seeked calmness and serenity and were willing to risk to try to find it.


Going on our second year in France we are finding ourselves waking up to the fact that we need to move through our process more quickly. We rested, healed and incubated and it feels time to move forward again. But I say to Jean, “We still have more to do!. We have to finish our book and you have to finish your research and my French is far from perfect.” It’s all those distractions that get in the way. Our morning walk, our two day a week yoga class, our café au lait, travel, time with Zoé -Pascale and just plain old time to read a book and play with Zoé or do nothing! But it has been great every day.


If France has taught us one thing it is that life is not just about work. I’m not speaking about meaningful work that makes you happy, but I’m talking about the stressful side of work to meet deadlines, get caught in traffic, stand in long lines at the airport, fighting office politics, and worry about sales and profit and expenses. France is helping us both to get clear on what we want to do and don’t want to do in the future and the type of environments we choose to work in. After 16 months with no traffic jams, I can’t imagine fighting highway 101 every day with stop and go traffic into San Francisco, across the bay or down the peninsula.


Instead we walk down the cobblestone streets and drive through the countryside on small narrow roads and stare out the window in awe with every season. We have loved the natural beauty and the change of seasons and the friendly people.


We have been engaged into our process sorting things out and defining a new future. However, we have not been ready to make decisions and take new risks. So I decided to do a little research on the web and ran into an article explaining the Second Identify Crisis. As the article stated, our first identity crisis is adolescence when we need to get a sense of who we are. In midlife however, during the second crisis you must give up who you think you are so you can become who you were meant to be. Midlife is ultimately about the search for true meaning in life. A very deep question we are pondering as we give up who we thought we were and try on who we think we may become in future.


Our challenge now is to determine the best context for great quality of life during the next phase of life while following our hearts’ mission of teaching, healing, consulting and writing. As it unfolds we are delighted to be in France and we continue to pursue our projects, enjoy raising our daughter, living a simpler but more abundant life. And of course and especially at this time of year we miss you, our dear friends and family even more!


Have a Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Years!


We wish you peace, love, good health and prosperity in 2007 and we thank you for being in our lives.


Love and Peace.


S uzanne, Jean, Zoé-Pascale and Pantoufle