It is sometimes wonderful to be able to shut your door and keep your daily life free of other people’s inquisitiveness
Simone de Beauvoir has just turned twenty years old: by settling in Paris, in a boarding house run by her grandmother, she finally gets the freedom she had dreamed of during her years of study... She recounts this installation in the second volume of her autobiographical work.
I was lost in a transport of delight. When I was about twelve I had suffered through not having a private retreat of my own at home. Leafing through Mon Journal I had found a story about an English schoolgirl, and gazed enviously at the colored illustration portraying her room. There was a desk, and a divan, and shelves filled with books. Here, within these gaily painted walls, she read and worked and drank tea, with no one watching her—how envious I felt! […] And now, at long last, I too had a room to myself. […] I had a table, two chairs, a chest which served both as a seat and as a hold-all, shelves for my books. […] I kept myself warm with an evil-smelling kerosene stove. Somehow its stink seemed to protect my solitude, and I loved it. It was wonderful to be able to shut my door and keep my daily life free of other people’s inquisitiveness. […] To have a door that I could shut was still the height of bliss for me.
[…] I could read in bed all night, sleep till midday, shut myself up for forty-eight hours at a stretch, or go out on the spur of the moment. My lunch was a bowl of borsch at Dominique’s, and for supper I took a cup of hot chocolate at La Coupole. I was fond of hot chocolate, and borsch, and lengthy naps and sleepless nights, but my chief delight was in doing as I pleased. There was practically nothing to stop me. I remember how tickled I was when I got my first salary check: I felt I had played a practical joke on someone. I discovered, to my great pleasure, that “the serious business of living” on which grown-ups had held forth to me so interminably was not, in fact, quite so oppressive after all.
Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Over the years, the Spotify algorithms have correctly identiﬁed that I tend to like “chill” music of a certain BPM ...