It seems that my mode de vie has become 'tendance', according to Le Figaro: "relations familiales privilégiées, consommation raisonnée, loisirs intelligents et souci de bien-être". That's me! Damn, there was I thinking I was living my own life in my own way, and I'm in fact living the life of 'tendance France'.
My TWDB had been suggesting that I was merely consuming France (hence effort to read Le Figaro...) but it turns out that in fact, as I've been living tendance for some time, I can thus consider myself at the forefront of French lifestyle fashion. Consuming, no! I'm LEADING! Ha!
Posing about - frimer - is passé, so all those wannabe Beckhams are now out of the loop. Those of us who are in the loop can point a finger or two and jeer smugly, "You're so LAST YEAR!" They won't like that. Not that they'll take any notice, mind. Having lots of money and splashing it about should command respect from all other plebish life forms, no? Apparently not - it is not 'in sync' with life in 2009.
In this uncertain world, we are favouring relationships with family, friends and neighbours - one's personal universe, and concentrating on personal happiness. The sociologist Ronan Chastellier has even come up with a name for this new philosphy of happiness : 'neo-epicurianism'. "Epicure disait : 'Renoncer au superflu pour n'en pas être l'esclave'. L'année 2009, c'est l'année anti-frime." (Give up non-essentials so you are not a slave to them.)
This is not to say that anyone is seeking a return to nature and become a shepherd in the Cevennes. Us neo-eps appreciate good things, comfort and are happy living in town (or nearby). We eat bio (or rather, healthy) and make our own bread (the sale of bread machines has rocketed by 70% in two years) although if my experience is anything to go by, this will quickly become very boring, and the bread machine will be used essentially to make pizza dough.
Eco living is part of this tendance, with systematic use of low energy bulbs, buying food in season and giving up the city 4x4. I didn't have one to give up, but I do use those bulbs and I have been buying seasonal produce for the last couple of years. I also have a compost heap and recycle everything. I'm not a militant, but I do believe in sustainable living as far as I am able.
And I'm not alone. My lifestyle, which came about because of my financial and personal situation, has become the choice of many others too. In crisis times, the superficial is just one more uncertainty. It's more reassuring to search for what is authentic - family, good friends, real food, reasonable consumption. Living as an adult rather than a frenetic overgrown adolescent whose attitude is marked by selfish satisfaction of immediate desires rather than consideration of others and the 'bigger picture' - one's place in the world.
Be cool, be neo-ep.