“The problem with predictions is that they are fairy tales we tell about the future we either dream about or have nightmares of” — Aaron Betsky
2020’s COVID world is neither a dream, nor a nightmare, it’s a fluid space in between, a limbo, where plans die a slow painful death. The productivity of the first two months that included a hard-earned pass on one of my licensure test, employment upgrade and the launch of the fire side chats for the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee I head for AIA Orange County. It was only the beginning I thought, the year will see licensure, marketing and business development efforts at work, and plenty of EDI events for the committee. But life’s been a blur since the beginning of March, never imagined in my dreams or nightmares. Lather-rinse-repeat, Zoom-bake-Netflix! I have tried getting back to studying, reading, even journaling, but so far they’ll have been miserable failures.
There are only two options, continue to work all day trying to fit in instacart grocery orders, cooking and cleaning on the go, make efforts to be available for family and friends, or plan my day better with headspace hour in the mornings, staggered focus hours for work and a grip on food and drinks. After losing two-and-a-half months to work-life, second option is the only option unless I want to end up broken in the next seven months. Everyone around me is important, and I am truly fortunate to be there for everyone, but, I got to make time to be available for myself. That can happen only when I make time to be available for things that matter to me.
Work is architecture, but work is not architecture. Architecture to me is purpose. Architecture brings me pleasure. My day is not done if I haven’t seen and liked a hundred images glorifying textures, patterns, materials, assemblies, innovations, geometry and story of buildings all over the world on Instagram. I know, it’s not a good habit to spend so much time on the phone, but when you don’t have enough time to sit down with a coffee table edition of your favorite architect’s work, you have to make do with the resources on hand. Dopamine fast is a privilege, like meditation and I don’t have the bandwidth to clear the organized chaos of my mental space.
Here is to embarking on a “Project 250”, a personal project based on Michael Sorkin’s Two Hundred Fifty Things an Architect Should Know.
106. Woodshop safety
Day one, architecture school, wood shop. The love affair between architecture and wood, geometry and pattern, and the opportunity to use your hands to make the magic. The romanticism led me to ignore basic due diligence of checking the hardness and density of the wood to determine how easy it would be work with, and the sharpness of my tools to know what they can scale. The day ended up with bloody fingers, and ugly scraped wood.
Lesson number one of architecture school was focused on the importance of sharpening the saw. I failed, but I aced.
Where am I going with this?
I don’t know. I am not an influencer, I am not a writer, and I am not a self-help guru. This dopamine junkie with an organized chaos on her mind loves to dive in head first, whatever fascinates. There are perfect habits, and personality traits. Some people spend their life perfecting their habits, and some believe in being themselves in everything they do. I am the one who went into woodshop throwing safety out of the window, but eventually figured out woodshop 101 and some more. I am here, I am alive, I am thriving.
Michael Sorkin’s list is not something to read out loud (although I would listen to Roman Mars read it aloud two hundred fifty times).but it’s to be used to explore your thoughts, your experiences in life…