The perfect bag

I have never been very good at shoes. Trying to find shoes has on more than one occasion reduced me to tears. School shoe shopping was especially traumatic. The main reason for this is I have always had very long and extremely narrow feet. Like size 9 and smaller width than a child’s. Add in weak ankles and you can see why it is such a nightmare. I live in doc martens in winter and birkenstocks in summer, if I could get away with it I would be barefoot all the time. I hate shoes.

However, I have more than made this up with my handbags. I love bags. They don’t necessarily need to be expensive (like designer expensive), but they do have to be high quality and well made. I’ve realised recently why I have so many bags and why I keep getting stressed out by not having the right bag for the situation.

I have been trying to find THE.PERFECT.BAG. that will suit all situations and manage everything from a few bits up to my band stuff and will be good for going out, band practice, over night and everything in between. I have recently had a bit of a revelation. Until I get a handle on time-space dimension, or develop a bag of holding (D&D) or a bag with an undetectable expansion charm (Harry Potter) and my bag can stretch between sizes, or hold everything despite its tiny size there IS NO PERFECT BAG. Now this may seem obvious, but I do go on a bit of a quest for utter minimalism and hoping to find the one bag or the one pair of shoes to suit all occasions.

Recently I have decided to have a bag moratorium and not buy any more bags, nor indeed swap between them…..unless a dramatic and unseen situation crops up. I have stored all but three bags for the time being. I have a smaller bag which fits a book/kindle/iPad (this is vital), wallet, phone, small notebook and sketching stuff and a few other bits. I have my everyday bag which takes A4 folders, flute, water, notebook, stuff, laptop, but if I haven’t got the bigger stuff it is soft so it doesn’t look empty. Then I have a much bigger bag which fits in all of my band stuff and is fine for a weekend bag too. Although I play a small instrument, the bloody music stand is cumbersome and the music folder is big and chunky so it does need a bigger bag, plus I need a lot of water to stop my getting dehydrated – which really fatigues me.

The bigger two are are Crumpler, I have been using them for years, they are expensive, but extremely good value for money as they last and never seem to wear. Even on a motorbike in pouring rain across motorways and country lanes cross country, or cross London commuting on a cycle. The smallest one is just a fabric tote bag which my sister bought me and I love it.

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I also have my under wheelchair one, but I don’t count that as I can only use it on the chair.

I don’t like carrying multiple bags, I never have done and it is impossible on the wheelchair too. I don’t like anything on the back of the chair as it totally upsets the centre of gravity and affects the handling dramatically.

So, although it is not minimalistic it is simplistic, I only have 3 bags to choose from and there are clear reasons for choosing each one, and I don’t have to waste brainpower on worrying about it.

Of course, although I am literally talking about baggage this logic applies to so many things in my life – my endless quest for THE.PERFECT.XXX which will solve all of my XXX problems and I will never have to worry again. There is never the perfect anything. Ever. Everything requires compromise. This applies to nearly everything, but if you look on the internet, instagram and read certain sites it seems like these people have perfect lives, their yoga asanas are perfect, their diet is perfect, their hair is perfect. I call bullshit. There is no such thing.

As I learn to stick to my bag choices and realise that there isn’t the perfect one thing for all situations I try to allow this for everything. I look at the minimalists in awe, the guy wears blue jeans and white shirts all day. I would love to have a uniform like that but it wouldn’t work. I love my jeans, but they are not great in a wheelchair for long periods. I also don’t think they would be great when I go into schools. Same with my beloved scruffy green Docs, so I switch them out for softer looking and smarter black Docs – in winter at any rate. I do keep looking at my wardrobe and wonder if a uniform of some description would solve everything, but then I remind myself there isn’t the perfect outfit that I can wear from schools to walking the dog to going out to the cinema. I do follow the Project 333, but I allow myself just a few more items than she does because we wash my clothes at a lower temperature than my husband’s and so I need more items, otherwise I am doing half loads and that to me is extremely wasteful in terms of water and electricity.

I have to remind myself that perfect isn’t always the best thing, as well as being a complete fantasy – and that applies to bags, as well as life. All of the time fretting and trying to find the perfect solution is waste of brain cycles.

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