Not buying (or distracting myself so much with) clothes for a year is having a strange affect on my thinking. As I do less clothes shopping and more of the other things I enjoy, I find myself thinking about what might have been if I had taken a different career path through life. Although I absolutely love what I do, my grown up brain seems drawn to this train of thought. it’s not about changing careers, it’s more a mild angst or nostalgic yearning for all the things I might have done if I’d have done something different. Is it just me?
It all started on a recent trip to Rye and a visit to my favourite antique shop, Strand House. As I pottered around Keith and Michele’s lovely store fighting back the urge to buy everything, I thought to myself ‘I could have done this’. Buying and selling old furniture and decoratives would have been right up my street, I spend far too much time as it is at Sunbury Park Antiques Fair and I could probably start a small shop with all the stuff in our garage. Perhaps I should have taken my teenage love of rummaging around Bath Saturday junk market a bit more seriously, I might have ended up as an expert in ‘totally useless but very pretty’ things on The Antiques Roadshow.
Then last week, my friend Julia arranged for us to go to the excellent A Home For All workshop at Selfridges, which was celebrating London Craft Week (more on this in a later post this week). We attended a thoroughly absorbing stitch and play workshop with Aimee Betts, a mixed media embroidery designer and Tom Of Holland, a self taught textiles practitioner based in Brighton. These two delightful artisans make a living out of sewing. As I tried to perfect my feather stitch under Tom’s gaze I thought “I could have done this”. When I was at school I shone at needlework (yes, I know this hardly sounds cool and there were only 20 odd girls in my year, but lets stay upbeat here). I was even given a scholarship for materials because I raced through sewing projects so quickly I was in danger of bankrupting my parents due to all the fabric I needed. But no one I knew made sewing a career (I was very definitely not a designer, just a maker) and I thought that there probably wouldn’t be many boys involved if I did (an important consideration when you are 16). What might have been if I’d stuck with my needle?
We have talked many times on TWR about what our fantasy shop (me) and clothes range (Jane) would looked like if we were to ever find someone with the odd million to spare. I increasingly find myself going into clothes shops now and having an cross internal dialogue with myself about how it’s ALL WRONG and what I’d do if I ran the place… Should I have run a store? Somewhere small and stylish like Yvonne Damant in Richmond, or maybe Egg, a shop I could happily live in. That way I could solve the (still ongoing) shortage of modern clothes for grown up women by buying in good ones.
It’s not just me reaching this point in life where there’s ‘what if’ angst going on. In a recent interview (can’t for the life of me remember where it was) the ultra successful restauranter Jeremy King (The Woolsey, The Ivy, The Beaumont), mused about how he would have liked to have been a barrister. Last week Middleagedad was even interviewed by Renegade Generation, a company that helps mid lifers actually act on these musing. I don’t want to change my career at all, I am almost deliriously happy with my life and what I do, but as I look back, I can’t help thinking about what life doing something else might have been like.
Am I on my own here or do any of you have ‘what I should have done’ thoughts? What would you like to have done, given your time again? Perhaps it’s just me, maybe this is what happens when you stop shopping for clothes!