Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Life List: Letting the Details Define Me

The summer following my freshman year of college, I created a life list containing 49 items—as my favorite number is 7, but 7 is a low number, and 7 * 7 = 49. (Really, this stuff always makes sense in my head).

The list was compiled it into an eccentric scrapbook. Each page was laid out by hand with a space left for a photo to be added once the task was completed. The cover simply states "Let the Details Define You" and the back cover is littered with phrases from the book, Remember Be Here Now which I recall reading in high school following a unit on Siddhartha.

I retrieved the book from the back of a closet the other day, and was immediately struck with the amount of detail and time I put into assembling it. The book itself is a bound collection of sewn pages, each with its own charms and eccentricities. Things were hand drawn with pencil, crayolas, pastels; fabric was sewn in; endless amounts of paper and photos collaged together; tinfoil utilized in more than one manner; postcards, ink, paint, bingo chips. Every page-turn is a new wonder.

It's the ultimate heartfelt project of a teenager who loved to design. Who in her spare time, spent countless hours experimenting with materials and processes. Who made scrapbooks for events that hadn't even happened yet. It reminded me of all the reasons that I became a designer, and showed me that I always was one.

Sure there are several items on the list that I no longer have any interest in completing. Learn to golf? Be on a bowling team? For a 19 year old, I certainly had some odd ambitions. I can't bring myself to remove or change these pages however, as it would be a violation of the book. And I still feel a strong inclination to complete these tasks, because at one point in my life, doing so obviously meant a lot to me.

Mostly though, the book reminded me that it's important to step away from the computer, to try new things, experiment, and to not just be, but be alive.

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