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Thoughts on the unknown

March 16, 2011

My future worries me. I’m sure I’m not unique in that regard. Let’s leave that aside for a second.
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My friend is a musician who is performing solo for the first time in a while and is nervous. People on facebook were telling her, “Don’t be nervous.” There was some back and forth; someone said, “_Do_ be nervous… it summons the gods.” She answered back, “My acting coach used to say- any actor who doesn’t get nervous isn’t a good actor- being excited about the unknown is another way to look at it I guess- being on edge- keeps others on edge- what will happen next?”

I saw this yesterday and liked it then, but it popped into my head again today. Thoughts of after-school (post-MFA, I guess) are on my mind, ways to market myself afterwards, strategies, Plan Bs and such. I like this business about the unknown. And quite frankly, I think I’m good at it. I think it is a strength of mine, to welcome and try to channel the unknown in design situations. And in the sense of using my weakness as my strength, always, I think it is a weakness: it makes me bored, lazy and disengaged when there is no element of the unknown.

I like also what Aviva says about wanting to see what happens next — being on edge: I am dirtily ambitious and I have learned the hard way that nothing good happens without the sheer hours put in. But in a sense, what motivates me to work so much on a project, what lets me have a bit of love for the thing, is genuinely wanting to know, what will happen next.

I never know, not really. I sometimes know the vibe or the elements or how, but I never know what it will look like till the end.
And if I can imagine it, too easily, too clearly, too peacefully: I flip it around, redo it, or just try to attack another problem.

The unknown — that’s in a sense the world, other people, other people interfering with our plans. Dealing with unknowns is a strength and I think the next step is figuring out how to find a position that lets me use that.
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What’s interesting is that I have a much more conflicted relationship to the unknown in my life; I love the unknown and am a gambler, but I cope with it worse. It’s hard. It’s not design. What’s good about design and the unknown is that it is contained — it is ultimately just a game. It’s harder to feel the same way about one’s life, obviously. And it’s harder to undo things, missteps and mistakes. But the truth is the truth, in life as in design, a part of me lusts for the unknown — so the next step for me is probably figuring out, how to channel the nervousness of life. To neither retreat from it nor try to battle it outright.

What will happen next?

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