Architalks 34: Renewal

This is the thirty-fourth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “Renewal”(Topic by Larry Lucas)

Renewal: an instance of resuming an activity or state after an interruption.

Last year, walking in the halls of my office during general coffee breaks in the afternoon, I saw renderings for a Coastal Senior Living Project , and wished and hoped that eventually, someday, one day, I should be a part of a project like this. I was on another team, another project that I really loved, and certainly had no reason to push myself to be on this project. But I wished. They say there are angels granting your wishes randomly, and you should be careful what you wish for. In a surprising turn of events, this happened – that happened, and I happened to this project – the project happened to me.  Before you know it, the project that was already in construction was my pride and joy, reason for the smile with my morning coffee and my sleepless nights.

Fourteen days until I show-case it at the AIA tour with the Project Designer… and I can barely contain my excitement.

Now, why is this under renewal? It’s not like my professional life was ever interrupted other than that little blip of Great Housing Recession.

In a way, this project was a renewal of dreams. Renewal of ideas. Renewal of goals.

Earlier this year, in a closed door carefully crafted meeting of sorts, I was told “not to rock the boat”. What if the boat wants to explore uncharted territories? What if the boat gets restless in calm waters? What if the boat is capable of weathering a storm? What if the boat is capable of discovering new lands? Let the boat rock… I refuse to be that archimom whose dreams are forcefully reduced, and ambitions diminished because she is a woman, she is a mother and a woman of color. I will struggle, but I will not give-up. In “20 seconds of insanity” I walked into the office of that one person who mattered, and shared my intent to  let my boat rock – I haven’t turned to look at the calm waters I left behind ever since.

The last year of my life has shown that the more I do, the more I can do.  Renewal of that little fire in the belly that drives the dreams… that’s something I didn’t think I will light up at this phase in my life, where everything that happens next minute is anyone’s guess. It was one of the worst years of my life, yet one of the best years. There was so much heartache, and there was so much to celebrate, there came a point that I didn’t know how to process anything at all, and felt numb to all kinds of emotions. Series of occurrences, good and bad, triggered existential crisis that went beyond the regular questioning of meaning and purpose of life.

There is a quote by Margaret Thatcher (The Iron lady) “One’s life must matter, beyond all the cooking and the cleaning and the children. One’s life must mean more than that. I cannot die washing up a teacup”. I live my life by this quote. My life has to matter. I (We) have struggled when the children were little to have it all, or to try and balance it all, and eventually found my peace in the fine imbalance of life where we prioritize things by the severity of attention they require, and have embraced the fact that our cape is real, and it’s powered by the people that love and support us. Ideally, no one and nothing should stop you from being who you are, and what you want to be. It’s not easy being a hands on parent and child, and wife and still allot time to yourself for an enriching work life and personal interests. But you have to do it… Mostly because if you don’t, no one else will. You are your own agent, your own fire for your desire… Renew that vow that you gave you to take care of you among all the things you want to do…


What does renewal mean to the Architalks architects? Read here:

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