The Dutch know how to have a party. I can say this because we were in Amsterdam on business when everyone was celebrating the inauguration of Willem-Alexander. Take a look at these photos – see what I mean? It’s as though the happy orange-wearing crowds ran out of room on the streets and happily spilled out onto the water. It was a day where everyone let loose and enjoyed themselves (and looking later at the news reports, there were over 850,000 people out celebrating and only 57 people were arrested).
Looking around at everyone happily letting loose, it made me wonder if many people live in fear of not being in full control. Everyone has a moment that springs to mind. Like the day my work colleague returned home to a TV room filled with foam and feathers. He was in the process of renovating, and the builders had watched (helpless), through the locked patio doors, as the family’s puppy ripped apart the scatter cushions. (Ouch.)
Or the time a friend of mine’s husband took his fashionably distressed leather bomber jacket (circa 1982) to the cleaners. As he handed it over, he felt some serious misgivings as the dry cleaner assured him it would be transformed when he came to pick it up. And It was: buffed back to a dull finish, freshly dyed to a uniform colour, completely ruined. (Ouch again.)
Of course these are just two silly examples, but they point out that not being in control is part of life. The reality is that we can’t possibly be completely in control of everything, and it would cause much too much stress to try to be. Of course it’s important that we take responsibility, but thinking we should always have everything under our thumbs isn’t healthy, or even possible.
At least that’s what I was thinking as I donned my jaunty orange scarf, and stood beside Phillip Townshend (the man who vacuumed up the foam and feathers) for this photo to commemorate a day when everyone’s aim was to let loose a little.