Allow me to set up this post by telling you about a common scenario in our house;
It’s Saturday, and I am intending to publish a blog post on Sunday. I don’t have photos for it yet, so I need to take them today. I do my hair and make up then get into the outfit I want to shoot. I glance towards the window…and it’s chucking it down. The weather forecast says it will do so for the rest of the day. This, apparently, is not just an annoyance (and it is an annoyance, anyone who has ever had this happen can testify to that I think), it is, apparently, a disaster. Although thinking logically there are actions I might take (find somewhere sheltered, change outfit to suit the weather, try to style it out with some *edgy* rain photos, move the post to Monday and try again the next day), all I can do is focus on the image I had in my head of the clear, rain-free photographs, published tomorrow, and wallow in frustration that it won’t happen.
I know what you’re thinking – why am I always banging on about the bloody weather?! Well, I’ll tell you why; it’s because this is the situation that first brought one of my worst habits to my attention. Here’s another example;
I am in the car on the way to Sainsburys. I have allocated 45 minutes for the Sainsburys run, which seems reasonable as we live very close, and have made a to do list of all of the things I need to do after it – errands, life admin, blogging and tidying. Traffic turns out to be horrendous, and it takes me a lot longer to get there than expected. When I’ve done the shop I realise I need petrol. By the time I’ve got some and driven home it has taken me over 2 hours. I wanted that time to do other things, and I’ll no longer be able to fit them all in, but instead of prioritising and getting what I can done, I have a small meltdown because in my head I was ticking off a certain number of items from my to do list. Unable to accept that that will no longer be happening, I claim that the day is ruined.
So firstly… I sound like a spoilt brat, don’t I? I don’t blame you if you think that – I think it too. Perspective, Soph?! Secondly though, and the primary focus of this blog post; I really suck at adapting to the little nuances of life once I get an idea of how I want something to go in my head, and I feel like that’s a fundamental adult skill that ideally I need to address.
Instead of facing up to things that don’t go the way I’ve decided they are required to, I have a horrible habit of throwing a great big self-pity party, and everyone who is unlucky enough to be in my vicinity at the time is invited. I literally cannot seem to be flexible to life as it happens, and what annoys me most of all is that these things I apparently cannot adapt to are all entirely outside of my control.
Perhaps that indicates that I’m a control freak. That’s almost certainly true, and it’s almost certainly linked to perfectionism, but I also almost certainly need to change my mindset on it. Energy spent on wallowing or thinking about how frustrated I am about these ridiculous little things is entirely useless; firstly, because focusing on negativity is only going to exacerbate those feelings of irritation, and secondly because it distracts me from actually addressing the not-even-a-problem at hand.
There are a lot of those quote graphic things online about this – you know, pink background and white italicised text – and pretty much all of them are along the lines of this; if it’s in your control, you shouldn’t worry, because it’s in your control. And if it’s not in your control, you shouldn’t worry, because you can’t control it. A little twee, maybe, especially for some of the more serious situations in life, but if we apply it just to the everyday nuisances that I’m talking about it makes a lot of sense, and it’s something I want to keep in mind in order to roll with the punches (or prods) a bit more.
I do think that we (yes, we, I’m dragging you all down with me now…sorry about that) can sometimes have a tendency to do things the wrong way around. We let annoying little things affect us more than we should, and we don’t shout enough the little things that make life great. Instead, we should celebrate and enjoy life’s little positives without bothering to give the little things that don’t go our way equal attention. They’re annoying, I know, and lots of them in a row can be tiring, but let’s not allow them to be day-ruiners.
Life is unpredictable – that’s one of the best things about it. Next time it throws one of its little inconveniences my way, I’m not going to throw my usual pity party. Instead, I’m going to be a normal, functioning human; think about what I want from the situation, try to solve the problem, and focus on what’s gone right rather than what’s gone wrong.
Because while we can’t control the seasons, traffic, what other people think, delayed transport, the weather, stuff that’s already happened, or a million other things, we can control how we react. It’s time to stop letting little things ruin your day – you’re in the driver’s seat, so shrug it off, make it work, and drive.
There was no way I wasn’t going to include this yellow faux suede Zara jacket of dreams in a blog post again, and this time I wanted to pair it with jeans and trainers. I added a tie waist longline shirt which was a bargain at £6 for Marks & Spencer (M&S do THE BEST sales by the way) and my little Mango gold ring detail bag. And, of course, in the spirit of taking control of outfit shooting despite the weather getting ever-worse, an umbrella. When Radley asked if I’d like to choose an item from their new accessories range, I’d just spent an afternoon staring furiously out of the window at the rain after getting ready to take photos…so I thought yes, it looks like I’ll be needing one of these. I had this half-written post sitting in drafts, so it seemed like a good time to finish it, and get out into storm Brian to sit on some damp steps – I got my jeans wet, but my hair and jacket stayed dry, so it looks like I’m getting into this problem solving thing doesn’t it.
Photos: Rob Poor