This may be a paradox, but it’s a fortuitous one as far as I’m concerned.
I currently have a new (to me) pair of pyjamas that make me feel both ludicrously comfortable and spiritually strong. Yes, it turns out that is possible in a pair of pyjamas. They don’t even look like anything *that* special: they’re a sort of jersey material, grey and white, thin stripes, kind of yoga pants and a slouchy top.
I inherited them from my best friend last week. Having turned up at her house underprepared for a sleepover, I then proceeded to wear them for 24 hours straight. As I was reluctantly taking them off while packing up to leave, I commented on how much I liked them, and she instructed me to keep them – ‘they’re nothing special; they’re only cheap’.
I think they are pretty special. Mostly because they are not something I would ever buy for myself.
My best friend A has got pretty good at self-care by this point in life. My stay at her house, as always, involved lie-ins with dogs, proper coffee, Moroccan tea made lovingly in a teapot, indulgent bathing, delicious food, time to read and write and have big conversations.
She has many pairs of comfortable pyjamas. Her house is always warm and cosy. Her fridge is always full.
I generally sleep in a ratty old band T-shirt, if that. I don’t really do comfortable lounging clothes. At a push, I might wear my running kit all day and then be cross with myself for not going running. It’s not really the same.
I am a puritan at heart; I have no idea where I get this instinct from. I don’t really see the point of turning on the heating ‘just for me’. Too often, I will consider making dinner and then have a glass (OK, bottle) of wine and a bag of crisps instead.
Whenever I spend time with A at her house, I feel recharged and more positive about the world. This is largely due to her wise and beautiful presence, of course, but it also extends to the space around us. Her house is like a zen retreat.
I always put this down to the fact that she has a more flexible working life than I do. This is technically true, so I’m not going to start being hard on myself over it, but I can try my best.
I am determined that the mythical pyjamas should be a reminder; they should remind me to create this same zen feeling in my own house, wherever I can. I have worn them every night this week and, while that time has admittedly involved eating cereal in bed at midnight for dinner, it has also involved writing a lot of words. It’s a start.