Recommended to me by a friend whose literary opinion I highly value, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry turned out to be one of the most intense and best books I have ever read.
You’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting this blog to be of the same calibre, because all I intend to do is borrow the title for my “Looking back upon 2012” blog. Yes, it’s that time of the year…
Indeed 2012, in retrospect, has mainly been about finding my balance and as it turns out, it is a fine one. Fine as in nice, heart warming and fuzzy happiness but also fine as in subtle, fragile and easy to lose.
In 2012 I was reminded again that things are never black or white. They are always at least a shade of grey. No, I have not read about the Fifty Shades of them yet, but I hear that it’s not quite in the same league as A Fine Balance anyway.
In fact, if you truly open your eyes and really look around you, you don’t only see shades of grey, but you see all the colours of the rainbow. It’s up to you whether you want to see it black, white or whether you simply choose to appreciate the particular colour of the day.
Well I’ve had them in all tones and tints this year…
Live to Work or Work to Live?
For a long time, work played a big and important role in my life. It was my main objective. I was a good girl in school so I could go to university. I was a good student at university in order to get a job that would make me rich and happy. And I was rich and happy, for a while. But it turns out that all I was doing was blindly following society’s rules. Thou shall work hard and thus be prosperous and respected. Not that there is anything wrong with with that. But it just isn’t me. Anymore.
Ten years ago, I would not have dreamed about quitting a job just because I wasn’t enjoying it. Actually, I would never not have enjoyed a job. You see, it’s a question of pride, of ego, of expectations. You apply for a position, you get the job, you boast about your new title and everybody, including yourself, expects you to outshine your predecessor, to surpass your previous achievements and to build another brilliant addition to your already impressive CV. You are therefore obliged to enjoy it. If you don’t, it means you’re a failure. So you tell yourself this is what you love doing, indeed outperform and impress the crap out of everyone and when it’s finally CV-technically acceptable, you apply for a new position, get a new job and dive into the next spiral. For some it’s a positive one, for others a negative.
Well, in 2012 I realised that I don’t have to enjoy my job. No more living for the sake of expectations. Sometimes a job simply sucks. Choosing for my own happiness can hardly be called a failure, right? Indeed, for the first time in my life, I quit a job after barely six months. Remember the blog I wrote back then? You could say I that instead of choosing black, I chose white.
But it’s not all that black and white. Because as I made that choice, I still felt an inner tug pulling me towards the black. So to appease my dark side, I wrote an emotional email to my friends and family explaining my choice, as if to justify my early resignation. Why, if I chose for my own happiness, did I feel the need to get validation from the people who are important to me? There is always some black in the white, isn’t there?
Rise ‘n shine, you lazy yogi! (A random morning in our bedroom in Perth)
As I turn off my 7-minute snooze for the sixth time at 5.49 am, Stefano rolls over and says: “Are you not going to yoga today?” Somewhere in between the fourth and the fifth snooze I have already decided that I will do an easy Yin practice at home later in the afternoon, because after all, yesterday was a busy day, I had three glasses of wine in the evening, a huge plate of delicious pasta Bolognese and I didn’t fall asleep until 3 am because I had a macchiato with a pinch of sugar earlier that day. Not the right conditions for an intensive Asthanga yoga practice at 6.00 am…
YOU WORTHLESS LAZY BUM!!! You!! Do you really want to become a yoga teacher? HA, WHAT A JOKE!! How about some self-discipline, some self-restraint! How will you ever get physically fit enough to even pretend to be a yoga practitioner, let alone a teacher! Get a real job, YOU USELESS UNEMPLOYED LOAF! You should be full-on vegetarian, vegan even! ALCOHOL? COFFEE?? SUGAR???? Have you completely lost your mind? Are you really consciously and willingly POISONING yourself?
Pffff… while the white in me shouts at the black in me (or is it the other way around?), I reach out to my phone, turn off the alarm, cuddle into spoons with Stefano and think “Yin practice this afternoon it is, it’s good, yes, good decision, it will improve my flexibility and also help opening up my hips… and… my… shhou… shhh…. sss… zzz….”. My dream is about the colours of the rainbow.
I’ve never wanted my own place as badly as I do now. For the past 4,5 years, I’ve lived in either very temporary rented accommodation, stayed for free at friend’s or family’s houses or was housed in spaces provided by employers. For the first 3,5 years, I loved it. No responsibilities, little to no expenses, freedom to leave whenever… But for a while now, it’s been itching. Now, I want my own new Nude Food Mover containers range in my kitchen closet, I want to unpack my boxes with the beautiful silver cutlery now sadly stored away in my mom’s garage, I want an enormous wall with shelves loaded with my books, I want to poo in a toilet that nobody else shits in but my lover and I want a huge fridge that I can organise the way I want it to be organised (actually, make that two, one for booze and one for food).
When I had a home before, I took it for granted. Now I know I want it for all the right reasons. A home. It’s the black shaped outline on a white page of a colouring book. You need the black so you can fill the white with colours…
2012 was about finding my balance.
I think I found it, but now I need to hold on to it. I need steady grounding. I need a bit of black and a bit of white. Just to organise the colours of the rainbow that are all jumbled up.
Oh wait, that would be life unfolding before my eyes! How lucky am I not to be colour blind… ☺
May 2013 bring you everything you wish for and more, may you see colours that you never dreamed of before, may you hear music you never knew existed, may you smell perfumes that lead you to new heights and may you taste foods that nourish you with pure health and radiant energy.
See ya ’round, mate!