This weekend, in between a visit to the farmer's market and a string of family functions centered around food, I took some time to read a backlog of magazines. I am one who thrives off a daily dose of inspiration, but typically I take the convenient avenue and check a bookmarked blog, or read a few excerpts from an online magazine. All this can be done as a 5 minute refresher "break" from the monotony of computer work, accounting work and paper work. So, when I decided to pour myself a lemonade and take in Sunday's gorgeous weather on my deck, I actually felt refreshed.
It's about taking the time to let your mind think. Flip the pages. Read articles on something other than a glaring, highly-pixalated screen. With almost every mag I picked up I felt overwhelmingly excited about the information flow to follow. I would speedily flip through, just to give myself a hint of what lay ahead. Then, I would take a step back, slow down, go through and actually read the articles. With so much visual stimulation it can seem that the pounce of excitement, felt only by something out of the ordinary, becomes harder and harder to come by. We see so much. We have access to a variety of information through a multitude of media outlets. I might read an inspiring article online, but I will have checked my email four times and taken three 5 minutes phone calls before I'm finished. Sure, I'm excited by it. But did I really study it? Do I have an in depth take away? Nope. What does this all mean? Am I turning into a hyper-franatic, information guzzling, skimmer, flipper, late twenty-something? A person who, at the end of the day, will have read news and design blogs but with such a distracted mindset that I will hardly be able to hold a thought provoking conversation on any of the subjects!? While I seem to have this frenetic self awareness, I cannot seem to fight off the mobs of media assaulting me at my every move.
When I was about 11 or 12 we traveled to Florida for spring break. We did the typical candy & magazine stop at an airport kiosk before boarding the plane. This is the first time I can remember actually perusing the magazine stand with interest. It might be a coming of age thing, the fact that you start to take notice of what's around you. It's the age where you begin to gain independence and start to realize how people actually function in this world. My purchase for that day was an InStyle. I realize this might not paint the picture of a budding interior designer and definitely not a female scholar, but I was enthralled with the party pictures and, most importantly, the center spread highlighting past Oscar fashion winners and loosers. While at this stage in my life I was far from the interior designer you see today, I can promise you I was even farther from being a budding fashionista. I had a pallete expander and most likely was donning a waffle shirt, jean overall shorts and my baby blue nubucks from the Bass outlet. This InStyle was like a Bible- in terms of thickness and revelations. I can't say that my wardrobe choices were at all affected, but I did haul that magazine around with me on our entire two week vacation. I probably read it backwards and forwards a dozen times. The pages were fading from my sticky, sunscreened fingers. And, when the Oscar red-carpet coverage began later in the vacation, you best believe I tuned in to get my dose of the Hollywood glitz & glamour. Also, you have to imagine my excitement that while in Florida, I found my grandma's stack of Architectural Digest's covering about a decade of Hollywood homes. It was as if my pre teen, cultural awareness stars were aligning and I was in the midst of two weeks of enlightenment that could never be learned in school. Laying on her pale pink bedroom carpet, I flipped through pages filled with homes of actors from the golden years to the current day celebs I would recognize from my InStyle educational immersion. My world exploded with a new found knowledge and appreciation for mountain views and taffeta.
It's through print we can experience excitement of something new. In grade school it was the book catalogues where you could pick out crafts and paperbacks that you would never see on the library shelves. It was catalogue subscriptions in high school that made clothing accessible from beyond the walls of the local suburban mall (I'm not really talking about anything mind boggling- more so my pre mature foray into bootleg yoga pants). It's the way we can open our eyes to the possibilities, stimulate our imagination and realize what is possible. I sometimes feel scared I won't be able to experience the excitement of truly realizing something for the first time. I worry that I am growing out of the ability to be amazed by the previously unknown. I'm also concerned that as I am constantly ambushed with media and news the extraordinary might be categorized with the mundane, making finding daily inspiration more difficult as time goes by. This might all be true if I keep trying to find myself inspired on a stop watch. What I realized last Sunday was that, while that heart-pounting inspiration abounds, I can truly only feel it when I take the time to appreciate it. In design, a passion for creativity is at the core. What I'm learning is that, if even for a moment, I can turn off all the static and focus on what I love I will never loose that gut-wrenching excitement for the depth of imagination that keeps this world an extraordinarily interesting place to survive.
As now noted in my task reminder: Take time to breathe, create & be inspired.
Hopefully it's something I can check off every once in a while.