When you google the definition of bon vivant, you will find it is derived from the French adjective for “good living”.
When I first heard the term bon vivant, it was back in the early 2000s. I had recently moved to Longmeadow MA and was looking for connections. This group of women gathered together four times a year for a very large supper club type of party. Originally, it was formed in the local Newcomers Club. It had morphed into this group of over 60 women who love to cook and entertain. These were my people.
I’ve always been the glass is half full kind of person. Even in my darkest hours, suffering through postpartum depression or battling cancer, my divorce, all the times in life, where are usually struggle, I always try to find that one glimmer of joy and hope to hold onto.
Some people might say that’s being a Pollyanna and if that is true then, hi my name is Pollyanna. I don’t believe that it is living a life of naivety. Instead, I believe that being positive and looking for the joy is my secret power.
I don’t like to frame everything by saying “as a cancer survivor”, but one of the many things I learned dealing with cancer is life is short, and the end is not on your terms, so go for gold.
Other life lessons like don’t sweat the small stuff and learn to say no, and other key life lessons that I learned while going through diagnoses and healing are important. For me, the most important thing was living life to the fullest.
Living a Bon Vivant lifestyle for me means embracing and enjoying an elevated, intentional and grateful way of living.
This can be framed with anything that is important to you. For me and my husband, we enjoy good food, good wine, travel and connection with others. In your world it might be nature walks and spending time with your dog.
My goal with my blog and Instagram presence is to help and encourage you to do the same! Whether it’s learning something new in the kitchen, or opening the door and inviting friends in for a party, I will give you the tools to become your own Bon Vivant.
One of the common misconceptions about someone who lives a Bon Vivant lifestyle is that it has to be expensive. It truly does not!
Unfortunately, we live in a society where we equate quantity versus quality. We spend a lot of smaller amounts of money on things that either don’t last or we don’t truly need. When we see something that is expensive, whether it be a bottle of wine or a beautiful pair of pants, sometimes we jump to a conclusion. One of the biggest takeaways in my last few years is learning that I would rather have one beautiful bottle of wine versus five bottles that aren’t that great. Fast-fashion, while affordable and cute, does not align with my values. I look at this lifestyle as an investment in myself and in the world as a whole. It’s definitely quality over quantity for me.
You do not need to travel extensively to appreciate what you have at home. I travel not just internationally, but also day trips from my home. I love exploring where I live. Spending money in my own economic area while growing and learning. Anything that you can do to learn about a community and how people live differently than you will enhance your life.
I am fortunate enough that now that I work for myself, my husband and I can afford to do more in-depth travel. Please note that that did not happen until our mid 50s! Before that, we loved weekend trips away. You name any town in New England and we probably spent time there checking it out. Travel is very important in our lives. We want to do as much as possible before we reach an age where we’re not comfortable traveling to that extent. When that happens, we will go back to just traveling within the US and that is fine with me.
You do not need to go to fancy restaurants to experience good food. Honestly, I love a good mom and pop restaurant over a Michelin star. One of our worst meals in Italy was at a Michelin star restaurant (not experience mind you but the food was no our favorite). Our favorite meal was at the local trattoria with fresh homemade pasta. There are perfectly good $15 bottles of wine out there so you don’t have to blow the bank to enjoy wine. Expand your mind and go to a wine tasting at either a winery or a local wine shop. A lot of shops will have tastings. Trying something new that you don’t think you’ll like, and being surprised it’s so much fun.
Take classes on line! You can do them at your own pace but you also will expand your mind. I teach cooking classes but I am also taking them online and once a year I immerse myself in a cooking school. To grow, you need to learn something new. This old brain needs expanding!
If you are reading this and thinking, yes! I want to live my life with this vigor check out the tips below. Here are a few easy steps to becoming a bon vivant in your own life.
Now that I’ve explained the why and the how I live my bon vivant life, I hope you are inspired to get out of that comfort zone, embrace, and enjoy that elevated intentional and grateful way of living. I promise you will not regret it.
Until next time.