One of my long-term homework assignments from therapy is to create new structures in my life and establish new routines to compensate for the old ones that are no longer applicable. Many of these lost routines were linked to a person, so when that person is no longer in my life for whatever reason, the structure ceases to have any meaning.
Like any other Empty Nester out there, when I discovered that my life was no longer pinned to a school calendar I was at a loss on how to structure my day. The routine of 12 years vanished and I had no clue how to manage my day and all the free time. It was scary. Then Death and Divorce came knocking at my door, and dragged Relocation along with them, and created absolute mayhem. It took me 18 months, but now that I am relatively back on track for the first time since 2016, and have new structures to work with, there were certain things I wanted to build in.
Let me return to the mind, body and spirit formula –
I first integrated a physical activity, a sport the provided the discipline and commitment. I am terrible at self-study and doing sports on my own, and I need a coach or trainer to be after my lazy butt to motivate me, otherwise I will find an excuse to cancel or procrastinate.
For spirit I rediscovered the joys of meditation and prayer time to nourish my much neglected spirituality and faith. Mind you, my faith never wavered, but my relationship to the institutions have. But hat is a topic for another day.
The last thing that remained a challenge was something for the mind. Writing is well and good, and I love the discipline I have developed around it, but it is outbound. I realised that I needed inbound nourishment, and that is something Netflix or social media were certainly not going to provide. So the love affair with books that I started many years ago was re-Kindled (sorry, couldn’t resist that one), and I always have a book at my fingertips. Cold winter evenings with the cats are perfect for curling up with a great book and to unwind in general.
The past three weeks have been disastrous in terms of commuting around Berlin. There is so much construction going on that you never know what is going to run the next morning or not. Then, with the emergence of the Christmas markets (Berlin has 62 of them), traffic has become a challenge. To a Manila, Delhi, and Bangkok veteran, the Berlin traffic is a joke, but waiting for the train or the bus can extend indefinitely, and become very unpleasant when the winds are howling around my ears. In such situations, I find music disturbing and it makes me edgy (maybe it is just an age thing). Then a colleague of mine mentioned she was listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks while commuting to and from work. That gave me an idea.
My Audible account has been dormant for a while – but I decided to give it a try again and downloaded Charlotte Link’s Die Suche. I tried a couple of motivational books previously and found that I don’t like them as audiobooks. They get on my nerves and make me want to shoot the narrator, and that would be missing the point completely. So I thought a good crime story should do the trick.
Suddenly I wish the commutes were longer! I don’t mind missing the bus or the train because I want to find out what happens next in the story. There is something incredibly charming about listening to a story, especially after years to reading to my daughter. I get to be the one who listens again, and that is a treat in itself. It is also a fantastic concentration tool. Unlike reading, it takes more concentration to remember the details and nuances, and naturally I don’t get to evaluate (them, judge) the writing style of the author.