I am in the midst of finishing a 150 page thesis (in French) about mobile apps in temporary exhibitions in Parisian museums. It is eating me alive.
Needless to say, stress is a constant presence in my life right now. I've been fighting back with an arsenal of calming techniques, including candlelight, herbal teas, Django Reinhardt and coloring books.
The other day I was making a transfer at Châtelet, the armpit of Paris. I turned a corner, and all of a sudden I was surrounded by the sweet sounds of a 13-piece orchestra playing Vivaldi. It was exceptionally beautiful and unexpectedly moving. And I realized that even there, in the sea of hurrying crowds and urine smells, in one of my least favorite places on this whole wide Earth, I could have a moment of transcendence.
That's been my motto of sorts as I finish my thesis. Even in this very stressful time, I am making an effort to insert moments of beauty. A bouquet of flowers, the occasional evening with friends and cocktails, long walks in pretty neighborhoods...
This season is an exercise in choosing calm and joy even under duress.