month 2: to include or not to include

February 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Before working on Apple’s ad campaigns, I’d always admired Apple from afar as a “brand” that makes big waves. It’s true that it makes revolutionary products but what I learned most from them was how to simplify things through clarity and editing. A lot of that greatness comes down to a laser focus on what to include and what not to include. After a while this process became second-hand to me in my job.

I got to thinking this month about how I could apply what I learned from Apple in my life. I think I’ve had a tendency to expect big sweeping events to define my life. I’ve told myself my life will find its course when I move to that new city or get that new job or get promoted at that new job, etc. This project is starting to get me to see my life in a somewhat different light, made up of all kinds of small details I can choose to include or not to include. In Apple fashion, I’m finding clarity and editing through the details.

what to include? I have 3 key goals for this project: exploring personal interests, establishing a sense of Home & community and learning more about craft. When I think about “what to include” from what I’ve done so far, they are generally the things that add up to these goals. Home coffee roasting is probably the best example. It’s a fun way to enjoy something I love in a new way. I enjoy roasting coffee for my husband and our friends. I’ve gotten to know some of the local roasters who’ve given me more insight into the craft of roasting coffee. I’ve also enjoyed making my signature cocktail for friends. It was a great experience visiting local farms and I look forward to joining CSAs to help support them. I’ve embraced Winter and gotten to see where I live in a new light. In general, I’m learning I like things that provide a greater connection to people.

what not to include? I think part of enjoying life does involve editing out the things that don’t contribute in a meaningful way. We only have so much time. Part of this project is finding out what isn’t me or what I don’t really want to do. I think bread-making challenged me the most in that regard. I liked the aspect of meeting local bakers, especially Scott at Great Harvest Bread Co. who was so helpful. When it came to making bread, I just didn’t enjoy the process of it. It’s very stop & go with (in my case) a very questionable result. I found lace-making to be rewarding but also very isolating and frustrating. Hip hop yoga just wasn’t for me. Canning at high altitude = a crapshoot. Part of it might be that a week isn’t enough time to work through the trial and error of some of these things but overall I’m learning I’m not a big baker or bobbin lace maker.

It will be interesting to see where I net out at the end of the year.

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