It seems like I’ve been looking forward to this holiday since the beginning of time – then again, I do have a tendency to veer towards the hyperbolic. Actually, it’s since we booked the flights in January and decided – in the interests of saving money and increasing flexibility – to travel carry on only. After initial reservations of travelling so light, I had the idea to fashion a handmade capsule wardrobe – from self-imposed restriction a creative project was born.
I booked two weeks off work with a mind to sew in the first week and travel in the second – it’s hard to say which part of the holiday I was most excited about. But then sheer enthusiasm escalated the pace and I pretty much had the wardrobe in the metaphorical bag before the Easter break. Japanese smocks were always going to feature prominently and the championer of the high waisted skirt – Megan Nielsen – resolved the alternative to shorts issue.
A holiday capsule wardrobe consisting of three smocks and a skirt , coupled with cropped leggings and my beloved M&S Heatgens for inclement evenings. Compartmentalisation has always been my vice of choice and after much research I settled on the Karrimor SF Predator 30 lightweight day pack as the vehicle for my belongings – if it’s good enough for the special forces, it’s good enough for me.
For travel bottles, Muji Online came up with the goods – it might have taken me half an hour to decant my toothpaste but in my book that’s time well spent. After treating myself to a new pair of Birkenstocks and a M&S rainproof jacket I was good to go. So here it is, laid out in all its glory – my half handmade – half lovingly purchased holiday wardrobe.
So, what am I doing writing this when I should be flying to sunnier climbs? Well, life has a way of not breaking to your bend. Of late, a nasty virus has been taking out my work colleagues one by one. I remained infection free -heralding my newfound vegan diet as an elixir of health. Fast forward to my last morning at work before the long-awaited holiday … you can guess the rest.
Seven days in and out of my sick bed, I’ve had a lot of time to cogitate on the folly of my ways. Whilst making plans is good, focusing all your attentions on them places your happiness in fragile hands. I’d meditated upon my holiday single pointedly and almost come to the conclusion that happiness = a week at my sewing machine and a week in the sun.
To add injury to insult, all the physical activities I rely on to boost a paucity of naturally occurring endorphins, have been curtailed for an undetermined length of time. As injuries go, a broken toe which refuses to heal is admittedly pretty laughable. So I’m very grateful to yesterday’s surgeon who – whilst ruling out a questionable initial assessment of bone infection – acknowledged the significant effect a minor injury can have on your everyday life.
I’ve come to the conclusion that life is about coming to terms with loss – possessions, ideals, dignity, people, our health and if we’re really unlucky our minds. In my job, I have the privilege of coming into contact with people facing their own mortality and the responses are as variable as the people. Whilst every reaction is valid, I’ve begun to fully appreciate that it’s not just the things that happen to you but the way you react to those things that shapes your reality.
We can construct a drama from our past, project a fantasy onto our future and allow a commentary of thoughts to accompany our every waking moment. But if – as Eckhart Tolle advises – we can extricate ourselves enough to observe the arising thoughts and live in the now, a window of malleability arises in which we can reframe our calamities.