6 years ago by

It happens to me sometimes.

I leave my house, I feel light and happy.

A ray of sun brings out the glossy shine in my hair*, I feel like I’m dressed to perfection, stylish without being a fashion victim**. My nails are done***. That morning, Chris said sweet things to me****, I talked to my sister on the phone, and I had all the ingredients for a delicious, balanced breakfast*****. The mailman flashes me a big smile and I think about my life, my apartment that’s so nicely decorated, my fascinating job that’s not even stressful at all, and at my life that’s running like clockwork.

And right then, I catch my foot in the strap on my bag and fall flat on the ground. True story.

That’s the visual version of the idea, but it might also be that I receive a work text that’s super stressful, or I have a day that I packed way too much and I get anxious, or (like right now) I’m moving cities and have to do everything at once. Or more simply, I realize I’m dressed for spring and it’s actually -12 degrees out because I forgot I was in New York and not LA.

These perfect moments, they never last.

Even so, there are some people who make us believe they can. For them, everything looks perfect, from their polished nails to relaxed demeanor. Their days are organized like an Oscars ceremony (by the way, wouldn’t it be great if music started playing whenever it was time to wrap up a meeting? I’m going to invent an app for that!) where Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway never got the envelop wrong. Or at least that’s what those people would have us believe.

Because for me, I’ve honestly never had a perfect moment of harmony that lasted.

I’ve had moments like that that lasted for longer than one second, though. Like for example, this great impromptu family reunion in my village in Corsica where all the people I love were together in the same place at once. I remembered to appreciate that moment. Or moments when, at the Studio, we’re working as a team and laughing and feeling creative and I know I have the best team on earth, without a doubt. Moments in love, moments at work. Being totally absorbed in my writing or my illustrations, or in a conversation with someone I love.

In those moments, I don’t think about the past or the future. Just the present.

We often tell ourselves that once we have “that thing” (love, money, work, Balenciaga jeans) we’ll be all set. We’ll finally be one of those people with a perfect life. Actually, it’s surprising how quick we are to say to someone with any amount of social success “Oh but for you, you don’t have any problems, it’s all easy for you!”

When actually nothing could be further from the truth. Happiness is all in your head, not in the things you acquire, the degree of perfection you achieve, or in your exterior successes. I’ve experienced it enough times to be able to tell you. (Oh and if you want proof, watch the documentary “Happy” on Netflix, it’s pretty crazy.)

Take moments of success, for example. The moments when you achieve something you always dreamed of doing. Or even things you never dreamed you could do.

You end up thinking having impeccable style or having your nails always done will be some kind of key for having a perfect and photogenic life. But so much wasted time and work goes into that sort of thing, it loses all its charm when you really go for it (I know, I tried and gave up).

You think there will be a time in our lives when everything will finally fall into place. Whether it’s love, an apartment, a job, friends, the perfect body, whatever it might be. Those moments never come. There’s always something that’s “almost finished” or something that “is partly falling apart” or something “in the works.” Always.

You might think, for example, that receiving a CFDA Award is one of those big moments in life, but you’re so overwhelmed with stress you can’t really enjoy the moment.

You think falling in love is a magic heavenly moment when most of the time, you’re letting yourself get eaten up with doubts and worries and “he didn’t answer my text, what do I do, shit wait, he answered, what should I do, no I’m not going to answer, argh, come on, tell me what to do.”

You imagine that when they announce that you’re a New York Times Best Seller, you’ll cry and there will be violins playing, but actually you hear about it between two work meetings and a fight with your boyfriend.

You think buying a house will be a big moment of happiness, with an image like a commercial of you signing the papers and celebrating with champagne, when actually by the time you get to that day, you’ve jumped through so many hoops, all you can think is “pheeeew, finally.” You’re already used to the house, almost. You’re almost used to it at this point, thinking about the next house, the next dream to achieve.

You think reaching the stars is something that just happens magically. When actually it usually takes so much work to get there, the magic mostly looks like really hard work. And the reward makes perfect sense: a symbol of shiny recognition that doesn’t reflect any of the sweat that actually went into getting to that point.

That’s what it is to be human. The moments of pure perfection are rare.

Happiness is within us and it has nothing to do with the idea of the perfect life that’s presented to us these days (that is – being a girl boss while raising four children, three dogs and having a perfect body, an ideal love story and perfectly ironed outfits straight out of NET-A-PORTER, all passed through an Instagram filter).

The image of happiness that’s presented to us these days is absolutely exhausting.

So here we go, I say we need to chill out a bit.

Know how to appreciate and be thankful for what we have. Respect what we have. Live each moment fully, knowing it won’t last. Work happy and appreciate the work itself without thinking too much about the results. Have a sense of humor, perspective, avoid the trap of always thinking happiness is around the corner, and know how to love our dreams for what they are – dreams and plans.

Things we’ll eventually achieve when the time comes.

It might sound cheesy, but it’s so true. And these are things we’ve all known for years. But do we really put them into practice? For the past few months, I’ve been trying to live in the present, and it changes everything, completely.

I’m try not to do things “for later.” I’m trying to trust my instinct and let my life build day by day, without trying too hard to force or control everything. Sometimes it’s a challenge, because I’m one of those people who believes (believed) I could control everything. It’s a challenge, but it’s led to some amazing moments of letting go and joy.

So I go back in with a smile to look for a coat that totally messes up my outfit – nails undone, hair windblown, with a big smile for the mailman, and I let my fiancé sleep in. I bring breakfast to the Studio instead of lamenting over my dry bread and well, life’s just amazing the way it is.

*Usually that last about three hours. By noon my roots start to get oily and my ends get dry.
** The dream.
*** It’s probably the day after a shoot, otherwise it never happens.
**** Pffff, usually if I leave early, he’s still asleep.
***** Something that never happens except the very next day after getting groceries. After that, my groceries are a mess because I don’t know how to plan properly.

Translated by Andrea Purdue


Add yours
  • I love you ! :D

  • You are a wise woman !…claudiag

  • I just watched the documentary ‘Happy’ – it was so good. Very informative and actually made me happier in my own life. I too started living each day in the moment and enjoying my present time so much more. It’s hard to always look at the future and think about what’s going to happen, or what you want out of life. When living in the moment you appreciate those little things and love living your own life. This is your life, this is the your moment, enjoy it.

  • Cécile Delattre February, 28 2017, 10:04 / Reply

    Chère Garance,
    Merci pour vos jolis mots, pour la fraîcheur de votre écriture qui sait si bien révéler la profondeur de ce qui vous habite. L’art de vivre que vous partagez dernièrement est une vraie source d’inspiration, un encouragement à être soi-même, à croire en ses rêves mais seulement en ceux qui en valent la peine, à assumer sa féminité dans ses forces et ses faiblesses, à s’aimer mieux en s’enorgueillant moins.
    Merci et bonne continuation! La vie est belle…

  • Keep keepin’ it real, sista!

  • It’s the journey, not the destination.
    I think women put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve some kind of perfection. I love reading about your journey and how you are steering your life to stay true to yourself.

  • Perfection is boring! Real life is never perfect and that’s why it’s interesting! Most beautiful people and things are never perfect.

  • Salut garance,

    c’est super vrai ce que tu dis mais quand on pense aux gens qui reussisent on se dit “ben c’est bon ils ont trouvé la solution pour ne pas avoir de problème”. La réussite ça varie selon les gens, cest ce que disait Scott “trouver sa propre definition du succès”. Sur ce belle journée libre heureuse et imparfaite :) <3

  • Garance, the real one ! thank you for this.

    p.s : I think I love you.

  • I am tearing up because I know. This is true and the timing resonates though my bones.
    I am tired from it all, and daily practicing sovereignty over sacrifice. Thanks G. Your words are always from the heart.

  • that constant race to more more more or better always better… We forget to appreciate the little victories we work so hard to reach! We get distracted, we compare ourselves, we forget the present.
    For me, celebrating the present, being present is the hardest of all.
    great post as always xxx

  • Un très très bel article Garance, je suis justement en pleine phase de doutes et ça fait vraiment du bien de lire des choses comme ça. Vive le présent !

    MERCI <3

    Des bisous,


  • “Those moments never come” ;) I knew this, but it’s funny to “hear it out loud”. Even for someone who is, perhaps, TOO laid back , it is still something interesting to let resonate in my head.

  • Bonjour Garance,
    J’avoue apprécier ce nouveau ton, plus encré dans le réel. Je viens d’écouter l’épisode de la poudre et on sent une réelle évolution. Comme un retour aux sources, retrouver la personne derrière la marque… j’avais lâché le blog je pense du coup y revenir plus souvent.

  • You’re blog is refreshing for this very reason. Not only do I like your style but you’re not afraid to talk about your flaws.

    Keep being you bc because perfection is boring.

  • Garance on est tellement synchro!!
    A chaque fois que je lis un de tes posts “big life changes” et philosophiques, je m’y reconnaît à 200%!!!
    Moi aussi je viens de quitter Londres pour Barcelone et je ressens la même chose…Nous venons d’emménager notre petite famille dans un appartement immmeeeense et vide et je rêve chaque jour du moment où tout sera PARFAIT: la déco, une terrasse cosy et fleurie, un bouquet de fleur sur la table du salon, un gâteau sur son cake stand, un dressing de folie, des photos de we en Catalogne de rêve etc etc etc
    Mais comme tu dis, tâchons de vivre l’instant présent et soyons FIERS de remplir nos vies au maximum…Quand les jours seront vieux (gloups), nous n’auront aucun regret…
    Take Care

  • Damaris March, 6 2017, 7:58

    Bienvenue à Barcelone Marion !

  • Post génial,qui représente exactement mon État d’esprit.

  • Pippi Hepburn February, 28 2017, 12:37 / Reply

    I love your common sense. Which is not always common in the world of fashionistas! Always enjoy your days, no matter what and I know you do!

  • Et oui, les rêves formatés par cette société ne sont pas faits pour tous. L’amour gloire et beauté :-) ont un prix qu’on n’est pas tous prêt à payer et qui surtout ne font pas forcément rêver. Il faut apprendre à se connaitre pour savoir où est sa place, celle où l’on se sent bien, c’est tout.

  • Ah but when you do have those beautiful moments it’s so fun to really acknowledge and enjoy them. They are brief but make the whole thing worthwhile. I am learning to appreciate each day and trying to slow it all down a bit. I love to tell my clients when they are down or overwhelmed that we live in paradise. Sometimes we forget all that we have.

    Lovely as always, Garance. Thank you for the reminder.

  • mais oui carrément d’accord avec toi “il faut se coolifier un peu”. :) tu connais la chanson de Matthieu Chedid “Nostalgic du cool”? et bien moi je suis nostalgique du cool. je ne sais pas si c’est cette époque qui est obsédée par une perfection harassante ou si c’est Paris mais j’ai passé ma jeunesse dans le Sud et je suis nostalgique de cette époque de ma vie où ce qui importait c’était pas d’être parfaite (healthy food perfect body ongles nickel) mais d’être cool et de s’amuser.

  • Saglara Lidzheeva February, 28 2017, 1:39 / Reply

    so much <3 for you, Garance

  • Tellement vrai et j’ai mis tellement de temps pour comprendre juste ça !! J’aurais dû lire cet article quand j’avais 20 ans, mais mieux tard que jamais :-)

  • Looking for happiness and a perfect life is a never ending journey.
    People get lost in perfection so easily.
    The drama with perfection is that as soon as you have achieved an aimed goal you are looking for another goal – unable to enjoy and to be satisfied what you have achieved so far. Which means: Perfection is an illusion. It’s like a vicious circle. What about satisfaction – a feeling which could be seen as the step sister of happiness. The feeling of satisfaction has a chance if one is able to take a step back and to look on all he has managed so far. In other words: If you want to be satisfied (and happy) you have to rest and take a break. I am not esoteric at all but I do believe that if you want to give happiness and satisfaction a chance you need to slow down. I am not saying that this is easy (and I know that this is not easy because I am a impatient person with a lot of wishes, plans, goals …). But I experienced that taking things easy, to let things go, helps me to be mor satisfied, relaxed. So: Thank you Garance for your shared thoughts!

  • Sometimes I fall away from this blog/site for a while for different life/work/schedule reasons, but I always seem to come back just as you are posting something that is exactly what I wanted to talk about with my girlfriends.

  • Laurence D February, 28 2017, 3:06 / Reply

    Mais il faut arrêter avec la quête de la perfection! C’est une pure horreur! Il faut vivre les petits bonheurs au quotidien, les uns après les autres. Ca n’empêche pas d’avoir des ambitions, des désirs de réalisations. Mais le bonheur ne viendra pas de là, ou très, très rarement, très fugacement.
    Pensons chaque jour: qu’est-ce qui me ferait plaisir aujourd’hui. Pas plus. Et archivons les grands et petits moments de bonheur. Que ce soit dans un coin de notre tête, une boite mail ou des photos. Pour pouvoir s’y recharger de temps en temps. Trouver comment les cultiver et les renouveler.
    Mais surtout arrêtons avec la PERFECTION! C’est un piège atroce!

  • Exactement ma pensee ! Je n’aurais pu mieux dire ! :-)

  • Thank you Garance for being so honest.

  • Et ceci est d’autant plus vrai quand on a des enfants. Des moments magiques qui ne reviendront plus jamais comme des papillons qu’on n’arrivera jamais à attraper. Penser à rien et profiter du moment présent est la clé de notre bonheur au quotidien.

  • there is this scene in bridget jones when she is walking to work all happy and optimistic and than the moment after evth is gone and than the other scene in the hours when maryl streep is talking about the dawn after the night spent with her lover and saying sth like ´i thought it was a just a beginning of perfection, BUT IT WAS A PERFECTION.´ well it’s just so true…

  • Thank you! I really needed to read this right now. So true!!

  • Lovely article. And soooo very true. Just what i needed to read today as we often tend to forget…. Thank you Garance for reminding me.

  • diane leclair February, 28 2017, 10:54 / Reply

    Garance vous êtes formidable.

  • Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I once slipped at 2 AM on a sidewalk outside Radio City and a very nice hobo asked if he – could HELP ME! I once looked at a lovely guy and thought “Why am I dating that playwright who never has a dime and cheated on me when I could be dating you?” I’ve been married to that lovely guy for 25 years and counting…marathon…not sprint…

  • Shirley Hunt March, 1 2017, 12:04 / Reply

    Thank you for writing this! I needed to hear this today. So honest and funny! I love reading your blog!! Have a happy day…. Lots of love xx

  • Love this, so true!

  • Sonja Janmaat Salim March, 1 2017, 2:56 / Reply

    This soooo resonates with me!! Thank you for you gift of putting thoughts into words. Bliss!!

  • Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con todo lo que dices y me siento muy identificada contigo porque en los últimos meses estoy tratando de escuchar más a mi voz interior y la verdad que se consiguen momentos de enorme alegría y amor….hay que aprender a desaprender y disfrutar del ahora para ser la mejor versión de uno mismo..todo esta dentro de nosotros..me encantas y te sigo desde hace mucho tiempo..mucha suerte!!

  • Alex de Berlin March, 1 2017, 3:56 / Reply

    Que tu as raison Garance !! Carpe Diem ;-)

  • blanche March, 1 2017, 4:54 / Reply

    mais oui merde! pourquoi, même si nous en sommes conscients, (enfin, conscientes avouons le), et que nous rejetons cette idée, ces injonctions, et bien cette image, elle, reste là, en nous ?

  • What good advice, and apposite, as lately I have been trying to accept that life is never all perfection and appreciate the moments and the little things.

  • Haha, I so needed to read this today! How many times haven’t I thought “now, this is it, everything is finally running smooth and it’s all good, the universe finally decided to give me a break, and then some sh*it happens and the break is over.. However, I’ve managed (as you Garance) to see the big picture and realize that much isn’t that important and it will all work out in the end. As long as I know what I want in life (stable economy, a smile on my face, good relationships and that work is giving me a good energy and letting me be creative) the universe will sort things out for and make sure I’m on the right place at the right time.
    This day got a lot better after reading this and I’m now focused again, thank you so much <3

  • Uncool March, 1 2017, 5:15 / Reply

    Well, it’s not in LA you’ll find people chill out when it’s the kingdom of superficiality! a materialistic environment never brings happiness..

  • Delphine-Eve March, 1 2017, 7:30 / Reply

    Garance you’re amazing! Thank you for your inspiration.

  • Marina March, 1 2017, 8:42 / Reply

    Merci Garance pour ce texte….
    J’apprécie de plus en plus ce que vous partagez qui est au delà de la mode, de l’apparence, du “on doit”….
    c’est chouette de découvrir votre personne derrière votre personnage
    Merci pour votre sincérité et courage

  • So incredibly true! I had a not so great morning and needed this reminder, thank you. I also had a moment with my four year old the other day that keeps coming back to me. I was trying to untangle her slinky and getting frustrated, I told her I wasn’t sure I could do it…she looked at me and said ‘Mommy just breathe and believe’. I was floored and now hear her precious words when I start to mentally spiral downward.

  • Thanks Garance, I really needed to read this today. I’m like some super/mom/girlfriend/stepmom/cook/therapist but somehow my brilliant career has come to a standstill and that grates me. I suppose I do rate my success only on a work level, whereas I have so many other amazing things to be grateful for!!! xxx

  • Mamavalveeta03 March, 1 2017, 3:52 / Reply

    How will we ever know a “mountaintop” experience if we never live in the valley?

  • This is perfect. If only we all could learn this earlier in our lives.

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira March, 1 2017, 5:08 / Reply

    A vida é isto , minha menina!!!And Thank You so much for sharing this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G article with me…i mean ..,us and , you know what ? I think i’m gonna quit my shrink!!!*_*

  • DaveysHouse March, 1 2017, 5:17 / Reply

    Dear Garance,

    You are just amazing. Thank you for putting the truth out there. I’m learning that paying attention when there is a wonderful moment slows down time and amplifies the experience, and you have more to go back and remember later. But I know you know that already.



  • Samantha Bonato March, 1 2017, 5:56 / Reply

    Perfection ! Overrated and so American!!
    Just live in the moment, and what ever will be!

  • Ça m’a rappelé un passage des Memoires d’Hadrien de Marguerite Yourcenar, que j ai lu et relu des centaines de fois. L empereur Hadrien y dit ” l existence des héros, celle qu on nous raconte, est simple; elle va droit au but comme une flèche… Ma vie a des contours moins fermes… par exemple, il me semble a peine essentiel, au moment où j ecris ceci, d’avoir été empereur. Les 3/4 de ma vie échappent d ailleurs a cette définition par les actes: la masse de mes velleites, des mes desirs, de mes projets, même, demeure aussi nébuleuse et aussi fuyante qu un fantôme”.

  • Caroline March, 2 2017, 5:25

    Formidable passage, merci!

  • You inspire me Garance. Thanks for sharing this and reminding us to focus on the present and to be grateful for what we have. Cheers!

  • Isaure March, 2 2017, 9:02 / Reply

    Je crois que le moment de pur bonheur dans une vie, est simplement le moment présent. Et c’est a nous a savoir cueillir la joie de l’instant. Car même dans les moments les plus grave et les plus douloureux, il y aura toujours une lumière. C’est ce que j’appelle l’espérance.
    Et passer une vie a attendre des pseudo moments de bonheur, peut être beaucoup plus triste et douloureux que tout le reste.
    Le bonheur est la, juste a cote, Sachons le voir et le faire notre.

  • C’est une espèce de moment bizarre de synchronicité parce qu’hier je lis ton post sur l’instant présent à vivre ( ça me parle, justement parce que je me projette beaucoup ou pas assez) et là je tombe sur cette vidéo juste après :


    Effectivement, je vais considerer ça comme un signe… ;)
    Alors Merci!!! Parce qu’aujourd’hui ça a touché ma corde sensible!

  • Florence March, 2 2017, 4:30

    Vraiment trop de synchronicité….O_O


  • Pour me rappeler que la vie, c’est en fait plein de bonheur si on sait où le trouver, j’écris un Journal de Gratitude. Tous les soirs je note au moins 3 choses dont je suis reconnaissante. Ça devrait être 3 nouvelles choses à chaque fois afin de me pousser à apprécier tous les moments de beauté de la journée. Ma liste est souvent très simple, par exemple – je suis reconnaissante de ma boss pour son encouragement cet après-midi, je suis reconnaissante du conducteur de bus qui m’a attendu, je suis reconnaissante de ma pause lecture ce matin avant d’aller au travail. Ça me met en bonne humeur et je me suis plus conciente de toute la chance que j’ai.

  • LOOOOVe reading you

  • Lisa Walker March, 4 2017, 1:08 / Reply

    You did it again. I’m sitting in my “treehouse” in Venice, listening to the birds talk, feet on the table, sun on my back, after a long, exhausting, rewarding week of “giving”, as I like to call my work as a chef. This morning is perfect and as I read your story I feel another burst of happiness.

  • Thank You!

  • Petits frissons Garance, merci pour ce beau texte!!!

  • I totally recognize myself in your story. In the EUbubble in Brussels the pavement are very uneven (the Belgian style) and since my head is in the clouds and I have this awesome feeling when walking to work I don’t mind my step and voilá. A little spectacle on the way to work ;-)

  • Vivre au jour le jour c’est aussi ce que j’ai décidé de faire, enfin j’essaie car les envies du futurs que l’on voudrait nous rattrapent! Tu viens de dire tout ce que je pense et ce qui peut m’énerver aussi sur la belle vie sur instagram! Que tout ce qu’on nous montre est tellement travaillé et au fond si peu empreint d’humanité, de réalité surtout. Parfois ça peut-être une journée en commençant par une glissade sur un trottoir sous une pluie battante, prendre un uber pool et se rendre compte qu’on va traverser tout paris pour déposer quelqu’un alors que la gare était tout proche au départ, courir pour voir que ton train te file sous le nez et manquer de faire une attaque en voyant son train s’éloigner et parce qu’aussi on a trop couru et que mine de rien il va falloir repayer un billet et que ce mois ci c’était pas prévu, oublier son sac sur le siège de la gare parce qu’on était trop occupée à appeller son mec en larmes parce qu’on a raté ce putain de train et qu’au final c’est qu’un ratage de train. Donc oui la vie n’est pas faite de moments parfaits qu’il faut savoir savourer quand ils se présentent.

  • amelie March, 9 2017, 3:38 / Reply

    Merci Garance, c’est rafraichissant !

  • everyone should take a step forward and laugh, be grateful, and enjoy, even if you do trip along the way. thank you for your insight. you are perfectly imperfect.

  • Super cet article, exactement ce que j’avais besoin de lire aujourd’hui. Je m’y reconnais parfaitement, toujours à attendre le “moment parfait” au lieu de profiter de l’instant présent car rien ne sera jamais aussi “parfait” comme je le souhaite.

  • How uplifting and relatable!

  • Stephanie Concannon March, 22 2017, 2:41 / Reply

    ” perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols; a hill of many invisible crests; doors that open as in a dream to reveal only a further stretch of carpet and another door; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us.” Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

  • Rafraichissant comme billet. Et je me retrouve complètement là dedans…

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