New York is realism, Paris is freehand

In the first half of life, we are always running desperately, but it is time to stop and think in the second half. Realistic first half, freehand second half of life. The author travels to different cities at different stages of life, so he has this insight...The world does not really matter without me. But I am missing me, what is left?

New York and Paris represent two aspects of my life. New York is day, Paris is night. New York is the first half, Paris is the second half.

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Before I was 35, I decided that New York was the best city in the world. I was a graduate student in California and couldn't wait to go to work in New York after graduation. After five years of doing it, happiness is like a fairy. I love New York for the same reason as many people: it has been the center of world culture since the 5th century, rich and convenient. Relying on the subway and taxi, you can travel through time and run for hundreds of years. The newest and oldest, best and worst things of mankind are visible in New York.

So when I was in New York, I grasped every minute to experience it. During the day, I work in a financial institution, 10 hours a day. After work in the evening, I went to NYU to study movies and sat for 4 hours. At the age of more than XNUMX years, being busy was the only meaningful way of life. To live is to squeeze yourself dry and turn the city where you live inside and outside.

This kind of thinking did not come to New York. In fact, since childhood, Taiwanese have lived in New York. Life in New York is full of the fighting spirit of Protestants and the will to win of capitalism. I believe that people must overcome all difficulties and defeat the competition through continuous efforts. The purpose of living is to be bigger, more, richer, and more famous. Power and wealth are the two gods of New Yorkers. The shoes that can help you walk into heaven are career, career, and career.

In this lifestyle of the weak and the strong, everyone is in a hurry and grabs resources in order to stay ahead. When I entered the elevator, I had clearly pressed the button on the floor, and the light was also on, so I had to press it a few more times, as if it could be faster. When I leave the company, I am clearly off work, but I still have to talk on my mobile phone and remotely control every link. In New York, in order to achieve the goal, you can do everything you can to kill it. In New York, there are no bad guys, only losers.

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This set of thoughts slowly changed after I was 35 years old.

The first thing that shook my mind was the death of my father. My father was law-abiding throughout his life, being kind to others, having no bad habits, and his body was as healthy as a castle. At the age of 72, he got cancer, caused a stroke, and experienced all the pain and humiliation. He worked hard all his life, tried to save money, and firmly believed that the current suffering can be exchanged for a better tomorrow. We also believe in a hard work, a harvest, and take care of him with the spirit of working hard in New York. But after two years of treatment was defeated, he finally left. On the day my father died, my value system collapsed. The "New York Spirit" that I've been proud of along the way, I didn't expect to be so fragile.

Not only in the hospital bed, but also in the workplace. As I climbed higher and higher in the company, I realized that "capitalism" may not be effective in the workplace. Those who have worked know that few companies really "open the market" and "fairly play." Most colleagues think that you are either a friend or an enemy. Great in the workplace may not be successful. Successful, sometimes very small. Many people have dedicated their lives for the company and finally got a commemorative pen. Those who absconded with the money turned into legends instead.

Slowly, I realized that there is a higher and more complicated fairness in the world than "good repays good and evil repays evil". There is another kind of fun in life that is more subtle and lasting than "achievement and fame". That is what the rushing American capitalism cannot explain.

Where can I find that kind of fairness and fun? I have thought about Tibet, Bhutan, Africa, New Zealand. Then I noticed France.

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When living in New York, France was the object of mockery. As an economic, technological, and military power, the United States can't help but ridicule when it comes to France. France is a declining aristocracy, and everyone worthy of worship has passed away. The French are arrogant, and the high tax rate makes everyone very lazy. Strikes at every turn, even the hotel owner has to take to the streets.

After moving back to Taiwan, Provence and Tuscany suddenly became popular. I watched Francis Meth’s "Beautiful Tuscany", and one of the lines touched me: “In California, time is like a hula hoop. I twisted and twisted, but stopped in place. In Tosca Ni, I can walk around all day freely in the Mediterranean sun with a basket of plums."

Yes! What am I rushing? I exhausted my youth and tried my best, desperately pursuing things outside of my body. In the end, am I really richer and more famous than others? More importantly, am I really happy because of it? There is a broad horizon in the distance, why am I still shaking the outdated hula hoop in place?

When I re-learned France, I found that France and the United States represent two very different ways of life. Americans seek to conquer the heavens by man, and must go against the current in everything. The French pay attention to peaceful coexistence and follow the trend in everything. There are many hundred-story skyscrapers in New York, and houses in Paris are 300-year-old monuments. New York continues to innovate, and Paris always has a nostalgic atmosphere. Parisians chat in coffee shops, New Yorkers use computers in coffee shops. New York is crowded, Paris has a taste. New York has banknotes and Paris has cakes.

Regardless of whether it is a government or an individual, the French bet their spirits on food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. Let the United States be the big brother. To conquer space, to fight Iraq, to ​​raise interest rates, to invent new technologies, let him go. The French are willing to settle in the Atlantic, smoking, drinking, watching football, and engaging in fashion. When the Americans were busy with stomach ulcers, the French ate another can of foie gras.
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Speaking of eating, France has 300 kinds of cheese, and Bordeaux alone has 57 wine producing areas. Sitting towards the entrance of the coffee shop at 6pm, you can chat for 3 hours with a glass of red wine. Go to dinner again at 9 o'clock, and eat until the next morning. The time they spend eating is the same as the hours we spend at work. But the irony is: they don't have "All You Can Eat".

Eating is very important, but you have to choose time. My friend introduced me to try a French restaurant and reminded me that they would take a rest on Tuesday and Thursday nights. "Why?" I asked. He said: "Because the chef is going home to watch football." The smart chef understands the law. French law stipulates that a maximum of 35 hours work a week, and most people have five weeks of vacation a year. Americans treat overtime as a sign of their own value, and even return their e-mails with their mobile phones on vacation. The French can play better than the Americans. At the Paris Music Festival in June every year, from noon to late night, hundreds of open-air concerts are held in various places at the same time, and fees are suspended even when the subway is crowded. In the "White Night" in October every year, the store is closed at night on weekdays, and is open all night until 5 am. Every summer, the Paris city government arranges three sections of artificial beaches with a total length of 6 kilometers on the right bank of the Seine. Fine sand, hammocks, deck chairs, palm trees, and natural beaches are all available here. People who don’t have money to go to the seaside can also You can enjoy the beach scenery.

Of course, with such a deep culture in France, it is impossible to come from eating, drinking and having fun. Americans study in order to test their certificates. The French read books for the sake of ambience. At the reading festival in October every year, people take turns on stage to recite verses in train stations in big cities. The bookstore is open until dawn, with live music played all night. The "Gourmet Book Fair" was held at the stock exchange with the heaviest copper smell. The books of the small town book fair "grow" directly on the tree, and readers must climb to the tree and pick the book off and taste it.

Will people who have been following the United States be impressed?

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My heart moved. I arrived in Paris in November and a French friend came to receive me. Before leaving, I asked him: "What are you going to do tomorrow?" "I'm going to the bank." "What then?" I asked. "I do not understand what you mean……"

For me, "going to the bank" is a trivial thing to do after lunch. For the French, this is his entire day. The French are always attentive and slow, doing a little thing well every day.

Such a life is too decadent for the Americans or Chinese. Indeed it is. The unemployment rate in France is close to 10%. The high tax rate makes employers prefer to close and rest instead of helping employees pay taxes. The downtown area of ​​Paris is intoxicated, but the ethnic minorities in the suburbs have no job opportunities. These are the dark sides, but for Taiwanese who are scorched by the strong light every day, the dark may provide breathing space. The end of life is the same, the funeral of the rich is just that more people will offer incense. The constant chasing just rushes to the curtain call in advance, why not spend time slowly warming up the field? You don't need to spend your whole life and die. You can stretch and be a car once in a while.

I came back from Paris and Taipei has not changed. The cell phone that has been off for two weeks rang again, and people who couldn't find me in one call would make ten calls in a row. When meeting with a friend, he asked me very caringly: "Well, now you have quit your job and you have gone to Europe, what do you do next?" What a New York word.

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I really want to say: "Living well, isn't it the biggest project in life?" But I know that in the bustling streets of Taipei, under the age of 40, this is too hypocritical. Besides, the reason why I have money and leisure to enjoy French life today is not because I have received a lot of benefits in American life? I still love work and New York, but I don’t have to follow the same steps as when I was 20.

So I said, "I still get up early and write hard during the day. But at night, I want to turn off my phone."
Without me, the world doesn't really matter. But I am missing me, what is left?

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