It’s a strange title, I know and no, I don’t refer to the edible pie in any way. I have the mathematical pie chart in mind. Experts say that the fundamental components of who we are consist of mind, body and soul. OK, I can live with that, but the maintenance work that goes into nurturing each section and striking the balance of all three is a hell of a job. Some never get it right, and I honestly don’t know if I ever will. I am in constant pursuit of happiness but will settle for contentment instead, and if you can’t tell the difference, then perhaps it is time to step back and look at the pie.
Happiness (Glück, glücklich sein in German, alegria in Spanish) I have learned (through experience) is like an orgasm, short and exhilarating, but momentary and fleeting. It cannot be planned nor quantified, just felt and more importantly – appreciated.
Contentment (Zufriedenheit, satisfacción) on the other hand, is something you can plan, work your way to, and achieve. It is an enduring state of mind that allows you to relax and smile at the fruits of your labour.
I started out my life in Germany one year ago with the exact opposite emotions. I was overwhelmed, lost, and confused (to some extent I still am), carrying burdens that were far to heavy and eventually I broke down completely no thanks to a series of unfortunate events (please don’t call me Lemony Snicket!). I supposed it was just as well that the psychiatric clinics were full over Christmas and had no space for me, because that led me to my current therapist and I have been clawing my way back ever since.
The past two months have been all about finding and establishing milestones for myself as a woman starting life all over again in a foreign country. It is as if someone pressed the reboot button somewhere deep within me and my apps are all in the process of booting and installing. Some apps I opted to ditch completely to create more space in my soul drive, realising that I don’t need them anymore. I find myself looking into my life with a powerful magnifying glass, not liking what I see at all, but it has motivated me to get my act together, bite the bullet, and soldier on.
Balance is not about time, but about reconciling the past with the present in order to move towards a future. Wow, that is a difficult sentence to write and even more so to live by. Where do I start?
Mind: The hours going into therapy are my investment for the psyche part of the pie, not to mention going back to the workforce. The brain needs to be challenged, and we never stop learning. Working in the IT sector challenges me everyday because I know I am way out of my waters in certain respects, but now is as good a time to learn as any. So what if I am slower on the uptake than my younger colleagues, at least I can still absorb! I include finances under this pie portion, and have spent hours with my lawyer, accountant and bankers getting my life sorted out and re-building, laying the foundation for a stable future. I may be alone, but at least I am well covered, insured, and prepared. My financial advisors said yesterday that not every divorced woman finds the strength to pick up the pieces financially and move forward with the courage I seem to have truckloads of, much to their amusement. They realised that I don’t take any bullshit sitting down, and know what I want – or don’t want. It takes guts, instinct, and a certain knowledge of a world I have spent years delegating to others.
Body: The carousel of doctors have been making up for all the years I have neglected check-ups. It is not fun at all to be reprimanded by just about doctor I visit, and there are many mysteries to be solved. In addition, I finally kicked my butt into gear and got back into sports. Yes! I finally did it! I have rediscovered tennis, something I have been playing since I was six years old. My coach asked why I took eight years to return to something I obviously love so much and am pretty decent at, and I stared him squarely in the eye and said that nobody was going to drag me out to the tennis courts in India in 45C temperatures or 36c in Bangkok.
Soul: Oh I am struggling with this part of the pie. I lack the spiritual fulfilment that I had in India and the Philippines. In order to find peace and contentment, however, I have yet to find my way through a forest of emotions that leads me to a peaceful solitude. To achieve contentment I must also find peace, but in order to do that, I have to make peace with myself.