About a week before our family decided to social distance, this beautiful headshot was taken*. I was on the verge of a new/old re-launch and re-invention of the old/new me. The idea was to restart after I had decided to take time off from office design work, so I could finish dreaming up my own home. After 10 years of almost exclusive office design, going back into the fold of residential design work was a huge learning curve. For starters the pace, which is slow and marathon like, unlike commercial work which is like an explosion of so many moving parts under the strain of tight budgets and time restrictions. Office design for me is a playground of pure joy and fun. These are moments where I shine and enjoy the collaborative work. Moments I felt like what I did had meaning and impact. Whereas residential work at times felt decadent and almost futile. Commercial and office design “happened” to me after the great crisis of 2008, no one was building homes, and certainly a designer was last in line to get any meaningful job. Now, my launch pad has been swept under me, I don’t feel like designing the new post Covid-19 workplace, it is all too sad for me to handle.
I’m angry, sad and feel wronged. My hopes and dreams of being able to finally arrive at my moment will be for now just that. I buckle at sayings of “well, you know you could...” - They work me up in ways that I can’t express. I’m remorseful after that, not many people know the true path I had taken. I had worked so hard. I’ve been a designer for 20 years now. With 7 years of relentless 60-80 hour school and studio work, time spent of truly thinking how to make a better world for all. I have learned to convert from the metric system to the imperial one. I have seen the rise of the quick 30 minute fixer up home TV shows, the every person is a designer trend. When I immigrated I had lost my design community, no one willing to support and reach out when I had 3 children, or when things crashed in 2008. Yet I always rose up to the occasion, knowing that as a designer constraints are my happy zone, where true creativity becomes a wonderful reality.
But this time feels different. Like I have lost my super power, my optimism dissipating. I’m lost. Some of the lost seeds were sown ahead of Covid-19, but now they have mushroomed into a full blown abyss of lack of ability to pick up the pieces and glue any part of shattered hopes and dreams together. It seems decadent, at times futile to even write about this, does it really matter when people are dying? When there is no cure? But these questions were always there even before Covid-19, I’m a daughter of 2 doctors, I know when thigns really matter. Or do I?
For now I chose to acknowledge. Acknowledge the pain, the hurt, the sadness, the loss. I choose to be still, to look into the eyes of the person that was photographed a mere week before it all changed, and try to figure it out with her. Design requires a deep and meaningful process, and unlike the 30 minute cooking your home shows, there is no easy fix. For now I need to go back to basics, be still and perhaps maybe start to observe.