Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Alive











Each day is bracketed on either side by bed. What the hours in between hold should be the reason why we emerge in the morning, and hopefully return contented in the evening. These two different times of day share a common ground. They’re transition points between being asleep and awake, between retreating and going out to face the world. And, for me, they’re the points at which I tend to consider what I want from life.
Interviewers sometimes ask their subjects “What gets you out of bed in the morning?”, or alternately “What’s the last thing you think of before you go to sleep?” They are not the same question, but for me, both would yield answers referring to satisfaction. I get out of bed because I’m enthused about what the day could be spent doing. I like to go back to bed feeling that the day has been well used. One bookend is composed of hope, the other of fulfilment.
At least, in theory. Those are the best possible days – the ones that have been stuffed full of creating, experiences or good conversation. They are the things I appreciate the most. Drawing, writing or taking photos; seeing friends, meeting people, going to parties, travelling or discovering new places; reading, watching films, seeing exhibitions or visiting museums; completing essays, researching a topic or debating; cooking or spending time with my family. These activities, among others, are what I like to embroider my weeks with.
Of course these are balanced up with commitments to college and daily routines. There are always going to be train journeys to make and exams to revise for. I’m fortunate in that I love learning and am always looking to expand my understanding and thinking. The prospect of studying English Literature at Oxford come October (I found out on Friday!) is absolutely delicious. But the other bits, the practicalities and responsibilities, are useful – if not always enjoyable.
This focus on enjoyment has become more important recently.  Last year I was obsessed with achievement. I measured my self-worth in grades and success. It was corrosive. Aiming to be the best invariably ends in unhappiness, for perfection is unreachable. Such high standards, imposed on me by myself, became stressful. Not reaching my own lofty targets was a form of failure, I thought.
That changed, thank god. The self-motivation and desire to do well hasn’t melted. If anything, it’s stronger. But now the focus is not on achievement, but on contentment - working hard, having fun and being alive to both complexity and wonder. For me it is not about passing time, but possessing it. Making it worth it. We often talk about ‘spending’ time – and if so, I want mine invested well.

The photos of the owl print dress and parrot trousers are from early last year when talented designer Charlotte Taylor  sent me some pieces to try on prior to modeling for her A/W 2012 Lookbook (the resulting photos can be seen here). The last three were taken by photographer Vanessa Jackman at the most recent London Fashion Week. Both events typify my continuing desire to take opportunities, seek out new experiences and appreciate the process. Working with skilled photographers and designers is always a pleasure, and there’s plenty of joy to be found in a beautiful silk bird print dress or Charlotte Taylor gramophone print scarf and  cabbage print top...   

32 comments:

Libby said...

Congratulations on Oxford!

Elizabeth Metcalfe said...

This is truly scrumptious. I really do think that living life by enjoying it is the healthiest and most fulfilling thing. I think many of us – although unintentionally – spend our time striving for perfection, which, as you point out, is unattainable. We should savour days and spend time living creatively, actively to maximise our happiness.

Beautiful pictures as ever. And massive congratulations for getting into Oxford! I emailed you sometime ago - I study English and wanted a Bloomsbury group revival. Not sure if you remember me? I am at King's and am sure you will have the most splendid time at Oxford. I perhaps will pop you an email at some point.

All the best

Elizabeth Metcalfe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara said...

Thank you ever so much for writing this, Roz. The resonance of this piece is particularly palpable (can resonance be palpable?; something to think about, I suppose!) given the thoughts, feelings and things said of late.
Once again: Congratulations on your place at Oxford! I am trying not to use variations on the sentiments I gushed effusively on Sunday ("I'm so happy for you!"; "I'm so proud of you!" and "I'm just so happy!") but it's quite difficult, especially when you think about the incredibly low acceptance rate.
I have had a little nosy around the St Hilda's website and am sure you will enjoy your time there immensely. Living my life somewhat vicariously through others is far easier and appealing than facing up to the realities pervading my own. But things will get better - in time. And as you say, time is a commodity that should be spent, rather than frittered away. I suppose things must be taken a day at a time.

Best Wishes,

Tara

Zoë said...

First of all, my hearty congratulations on Oxford! One of my dear friends went to St. Hilda's too I'm nearly sure and she has the best stories and such a dear bunch of friends.

I really appreciate this post, at this point I am unemployed and find it hard to rise out of bed in the morning. I read into the early hours and spend the morning in a melancholy slump. Though this year I want to achieve and enjoy myself, despite my less than ideal circumstances!

x

Rebeccak said...

Congratulations!!! Eng Lit at Oxford - super exciting!

I needed this post - thank you! I'm at that point right now where I need to be reminded why I do what I do and why I love it.

Closet Fashionista said...

I love all these looks! Especially the first one :) (I remember when you showed us that shoot, I LOVED it! Still do :)
I know exactly what you mean! Unfortunately when I fall asleep I spend my time worrying about things, haha...but I'm similar in the rest of your post - I do enjoy what I do and I always aim to do the best I can, not necessarily better than everyone else.
And CONGRATS on Oxford!! That is so exciting! :D
http://www.closet-fashionista.com

Emma said...

about 3 years ago,i saw your page.after that,changed my something.wonderful world!!!

Katia Pellicciotta said...

Wow this is amazing from start to finish, especially the part about possessing time rather than passing it.
On another note, you look stunning in the pictures, especially the ones by Vanessa Jackman! She has such a particular style that is distinguishable straight away. And congratulations about literature at Oxford!! That seems the best mix of achievement and contentment.

Sacramento Amate said...

I love the thrill of a new day, and the calm of the night.
I never think in bed. I leave my thoughts outside the bedroom door and get ready to cross the river of dreams.
I always think of you as a mature person in a young body, after all what is age but a succession of events.
I love everything you wear inside and out.
Happy 2013, dear Rosalind.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Melanie said...

I am very happy for you. I can see you at Oxford already. Huge hugs, and congratulations!!
The pursuit of perfection is a tricky business especially when its attainment is often measured on a numeric scale. I believe that with passion and curiosity and dedication, anything is possible. You look stunning in these photographs.

Pilgrim at Kerjacob said...

Congratulations on going to Oxford later this year.
I look forward to following your progress.
I love the photograph of you with your hair up tied with the yellow scarf and the cabbage dress, you look great.

Diane. x

London is passion said...

I love the way you look! Fantastic!

Miss Jojangles said...

Well done on getting into Oxford! Fantastic news! You're such a fantastic blogger and inspiration! X

Emalina said...

Such brilliant news that you're going to Oxford, and I'm not at all surprised! How exciting! My partner read English Lit at Oxford and had a really happy time there.

Love those cheerful prints to go with your cheerful news, yay!

daisychain said...

Massive congratulations to you on your Oxford place! xx

Lula+Lola said...

Thank you for this lovely post - perfect for moments like these when I feel miserable about grades and such that define only a small part of me.

And congratulations on Oxford! That's absolutely amazing!! What a lucky uni to have someone who writes as well as you :)

Tere Ávila said...

great all these looks, i really love the first one!

xx

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

I actually feel the same. When I know I'll be creating something during the day, I have no problem getting out of bed! For the past year I had a pretty boring job and not much energie. Getting up was always so difficult. But today is my last day. Can't wait to get excited about life again!

Frenchonista in Amsterdam said...


Great post!

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Follower :)


Love,

Samia
www.frenchonista-in-amsterdam.com/

Anupriya DG said...

I, too, wake up in the morning, full of anticipation of what the day holds for me....the potential it has of enriching my life with new experiences. And as I drift off to sleep at night, my mind is already full of hopes & opportunities to explore once I open them again!

Your parrot trousers & cabbage print top are ever so pretty!!! LOVE your last outfit!!! :)

Jean at www.drossintogold.com said...

Congratulations on your acceptance to Oxford. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity to grow and expand. I look forward to hearing about your experiences. As always, you look lovely. I appreciate your ability to look totally romantic and timeless, yet never looking contrived or stuck in the past, but always contemporary.

I love your list of life's pleasures. I share them, but they tend to fall by the wayside when life gets hectic. I might have to print them out so I can see them, making sure I don't forget to make the time. Thank you for the reminder.

HeartsAndCrosses said...

Those outfits are amazing!!

http://alittlebitunique.blogspot.co.uk/

x

odysseyhome.com said...

You are wise beyond your years. Yes, I've said that before but it bears repeating.
Hope and fulfillment, indeed; I will remember that as the bookends to my day.
Lovely ensembles as always.
Oxford! How exciting. Congratulations on your acceptance!

L'age moyen said...

I really love the style of your dress. It is so flattering, feminine and practical. I could live in that dress. It would be one of those patterns that I would remake a dozen times in different fabrics. All that said, these colours look quite perfect on you.

Fragile Bird said...

Love these looks :) amazing!

Please come and check out my latest post if you have a few minutes spare :)

www.fragile-bird.blogspot.co.uk

Helen

X

Jasmin said...

This is my favourite post of yours by far! Congratulations on oxford (how exciting!) - and thanks for putting your thoughts into words, they were some I could really relate to (I recently got my IB results, uni offers etc.)

shipshapeandbristolfashion said...

What a lovely post to read first thing in the morning. I think contentment is the perfect 'thing' to strive for.

It can be hard, going through over a decade of education based on achievements and goals and measurements of success, but I believe it's far healthier to focus on happiness - yes, ambition too - when going about one's life.

Willow said...

This is such an inspiring post, it is so important to have a focus on happiness and contentment. And to remember to enjoy life's pleasures.

Those photos are all such great shots, you look lovely in those beautiful ensembles. (Gorgeous boots in the first look.) The last two outfits really show off just how incredibly long your legs are!

And a HUGE congratulations on Oxford!!!!! How wonderful, you must be so excited! I wish you all the best!

The Foolish Aesthete said...

I'm so thrilled beyond words that you are going to Oxford for English Lit. I can't imagine any youth more deserving. And, you'll soon be joining the pantheon of literary gods from that esteemed establishment.

Over the holidays, I was communicating with my cousins about exactly what you wrote here. Most of my life, I was in environments that were so focused on achievement - whether in grades, earnings, position, titles, etc. What actually opened my eyes was moving to the West Coast (and this is why i think it is crucial to keep moving and living in various environments). I came across people whose pleasures in life were encountering challenges and solving them. Many of the mathematicians and engineers based here wouldn't dream of hiring contractors for their houses or mechanics for their cars. The tinkering is what makes them happy!

I'm so glad you've also discovered that working hard on something is as rewarding as the grade you receive at the end of it. Congratulations again on your acceptance to Oxford and may you have a full life of literary and artistic discoveries ahead! - J xxx

Ivana Džidić said...

That dress looks stunning on you. I so love the pattern, the high waist and the length. It really is the perfect dress!

If I may say, English literature sounds right for you. I've enjoyed studying it. If you ever want to talk books, stop by.

Krystalle Teh said...

I've been really busy lately so I'm a little late to the game, but nevertheless, congratulations to you! English Lit at Oxford sounds perfect for you, if you'd allow me to conjecture.

I've always wanted to study the humanities and social sciences in university, but remain undecided for several reasons that I might finally put into words one day. But the desire to plunge into the erudite world of Nietzsche and Flaubert still lingers. For now though, I'll continue consuming their literature voraciously and see what your thoughts on tertiary education are.