There is a partner – the glorious Podgey, and pals and work and most recently a volunteer gig at my local charity shop – but I am of the firm belief that in the end you absolutely must please yourself before you start charging around sacrificing time and sanity, trying to please every other bugger.
So here be me – with a blog post months overdue and if I’m honest – without much direction for this entry into the ‘things Wot I wrote’ cannon. I have set off with the idea of a handmade life. It’s one I have carried with me for many years. For me it means creating a life that works – for me, from scratch.
Refusing to accept an ‘off the peg’ life – planned and shaped by other people. There are so many things we do because we should. Work, parents, partners, school, clubs and social mores all prevail upon us to do shit we don’t want to do – in ways that don’t suit us much.
If we’re not careful we allow that habit of following rules to sink too far into our psyche. Before you know it we’re controlled by worry and fear. More often than is healthy – by the fear that we will be judged unacceptable in some way.
The vicious, rampant trolling of celebrities has permeated our online/offline life. I’m sure there was always nasty gossip and opinions freely shared but now we have the technology to upgrade our circle and go global – join the throng.
So one of the keys to creating a handmade life is ditching concerns about what other people are thinking or saying online, over the fence or at the school gates. There is so much clamour – it’s really hard to find your own thoughts up there in your brain pan. Quiet the noise. Do some yoga, meditation, read a book, take yourself off for a coffee and a crossword. If I don’t have a couple of hours a day to myself – I go mental. So I’ve created a life that allows that space to open up.
Even if it’s a series of 10 minute spaces grabbed in a busy day – I guard my personal – head time like a smiley islander bouncer outside an Aussie pub. ‘There’s not going to be any drama love – but you’re not coming in…’
You have to learn to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in the right order. Don’t roll your eyes … How many times a week, a day even, do you reluctantly say ‘yes’ or give a cowardly, or worse, ‘too busy to consider it’-‘NO‘?
That’s what I’m banging on about. Prioritising other people’s needs and requests over your own all the time – just doesn’t add up to happy.
Your time is important and you have to be the first person to respect that. If you do – you will have more time for you, less stress, more energy – more to share – more quality you-ness to give. Which has got to feel good ay? The more you give from a place of relaxed, abundance – the more you will feel in control. Which is a feature of a hand made life.
Recently, I have started sewing, and I am delighted by the variety of techniques there are to play with. I’ve had a go with Japanese patterns, surface decoration and I’ve made bags and bunting and dresses from denim, jersey and an old candy striped sheet.
I am currently hacking an IKEA fleece blanket into a coat and copying a Vivienne Westwood dress. It’s huge fun. If I make a mistake, I can unpick it or it becomes part of the design – happy accidents are mine to make. There is necessary structure – threading the machine, patterns etc. But I have learnt that even there you can go your own way if it suits you!
It’s an adventure – and creating a lovely life should be too. Undertaken with some thought and with ourselves firmly in the middle of the plans.
Make time for the things that delight you – and offer up the pleasure that gives you to your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. Being happy isn’t an indulgence and it isn’t a foregone conclusion or a right – it’s a decision that comes from understanding that happy people are productive, creative, loving, peaceful and supportive.