More energy, enthusiasm, hope, joy. The symptoms are always the same: suddenly, life seems to redouble in intensity. Even things that should be heavy – coming home from vacation, unclogging the dishwasher hose, working while everyone is resting, falling from fatigue at the end of the day – are not heavy. On the contrary, these moments are so many clues that say that “something” has changed, that everything is better, and even very well.
It’s a constant with “these people”: nothing seems impassable to them. As if nothing could stand in the way of the force that moves them. They don’t always know how to identify this strength very well, but one thing is clear: in their eyes, what they do makes sense. Really. Marie is a doctor; Diane, journalist and mother of a large family. That should have been “enough” to fill their existence. But no. Marie has taken years to finally find a way to practice her profession that suits her. And Diane’s life was turned upside down by a tragedy which revealed to her, in a few months, how much she needed to go to the essentials. They are both part of this generation for which earning a living is not enough. And building it cannot be done at the expense of something intangible, but essential: the deep impression “of being in real life”, they both say. “Exactly where I need to be. Less comfort, less money, less security, perhaps. But, ultimately, more meaning, and everything that matters to them.
Marie, 30 years old, doctor
“I do this job in a completely different way”
“It took me a long time to decide to go into medicine. The idea of healing interested me, but I hated the position of power that I saw in doctors. I started my studies backwards. My internships confirmed my impression: I am not comfortable with the hierarchical universe of the hospital, which I find violent, both for caregivers and for patients. But the subjects taught fascinated me. I was a volunteer with Doctors of the World, to give some sense to all that, but I was not comfortable either with the “paternalistic” principles of humanitarianism. I finished my studies as a general practitioner and I started doing replacements in private practices, without finding my account. I always wondered how I could practice this profession… I met other people who, like me, wanted to imagine something else. They decided to create a place of community health which would involve the inhabitants of the district in which it would be installed, where the relations would be horizontal and not vertically hierarchical. We started thinking about alternative medicine, which makes a lot more sense to us. It was from there that I felt fully a doctor, and happy to be one: the framework that we are inventing1corresponds to the way I want to exercise, in an open and mixed neighborhood, preserving time for the little family that I am building. »
1. The 2 Health Village has just opened in Échirolles (Isère).
Diane, 35 years old, canteen
“Everything I do has meaning, even peeling vegetables”
“My husband died three years ago in a car accident; I found myself alone with our three children. Just after this first tidal wave came a second: I was literally carried by my neighbors, who showed unimaginable generosity and attention to us. It upset me. These two experiences, existential, revealed everything that I didn’t like before: the false constraints, the real anxieties, a form of absurdity… I felt the vital need to do something that really had makes sense to me. I was a business journalist. I thought it was time to get into entrepreneurship. Thinking of my neighbours, whose presence was so precious, I imagined creating a neighborhood canteen, where people could come and eat and cook together, just to get to know each other. I found a co-founder and we launched Les Petites Cantines1. And it works ! Every meal is a surprise and a joy. People are happy to come, and I’ve never been happier in my life. Everything I do makes sense to me, including peeling vegetables or emptying garbage cans. I went back to basics. My children finally understand my job, they can come when they want to eat in the canteen, and they are proud to invite their friends there. I feel free. I know what I wear and what carries me. And if I stay on course, I know it’s going to work. »