Time, Stillness & Territories
Like many, I feel a very real urge to reinvent myself, to be reborn with every new year. This passage acts as a trigger to assess everything in my life, top to bottom, left to right, inside and out.
I hate standing still when it comes to creation but it can be so damn easy to fall into a groove and stay put, comfortable in the knowledge that our status quo is the right path, that nothing needs to change. The only real way to move is to push, always push, go against all that has become established, facile and obvious in our workflow. Invent new reflexes, find roads that lead out of the comfort zone. Our craft needs to be one of exploration, always, and yet… I constantly struggle with the notion of knowledge vs renewal. How much to keep? How much to discard? What has turned into repetition and what’s worthy of building the future on? Beginning everything anew may sound attractive but it’s a false solution: it can be just as easy to follow a scorched earth philosophy as it can be to rest on our laurels, to throw everything away and imagine we’re advancing when we’re really standing just as still as we were before, only two short steps to the side. So there’s a line to trace, a balance to find…
In the end I tell myself all that matters is our voice: I have to believe some inflexions will always be my own if I stay true to the right impulses. And I don’t pretend to be an exception in this regard: it’s part of all of us who search and reflect and struggle to bring something to life that didn’t exist before.
Then there’s time — that bloody, ever flowing river. I read a very interesting post during the holidays, a piece written by Michael Lopp and linked to by John Gruber. It’s entitled The Builder’s High and it’s a very well written essay about the place social media now occupies in our lives, essentially replacing our ingrained, almost genetic need to invent, create and build with a false sense of accomplishment, driven by a mostly empty, passive activity. He posits we might essentially be tricking our brains into believing the builder’s urge has been satisfied when in reality nothing has happened.
It’s probably too early to predict any long term effects but it’s clear all this constant “interaction” has an impact on how we operate, day to day. It offers tremendous possibilities but at a very basic level it’s still consuming time previously spent otherwise and that’s no small matter.
I wrote a lot and talked a lot and shared a lot in 2013 — not on Facebook and not about what I was having for dinner but still… I’ve been wondering these past few months if I shouldn’t pull away a little, allow myself some breathing space. Not so much with the intent of slowing down (I honestly couldn’t) but more as a way of being more selective and perhaps allocate my time and resources a bit differently. After all, in the end we’re working with a very real, finite amount of material here. But then perhaps it's just a question of picking and choosing; when all is said and done, I truly feel I get as much back as I put in and I couldn't imagine finding myself isolated, alone on my tiny island, without the support and input of everyone I've met on this journey so far.
So here’s to the Year of the Horse, to renewal, enlightenment and inquiry. Here’s to Time and actually building stuff.
Let’s all wish ourselves adventures — into ancient as well as bold new territories.