Today I took Penny to Floor and Decor, a construction materials retail store with isles of hardwood flooring and tile and backsplash and anything you could want for a home construction project. Penny and I went in, masked up, but it seemed like we were in the minority. Most of the contractors went around bare faced, and you know what? I didn’t care. It was a relief even, to see people going about the business of manual labor without a face mask. Like somewhere in these little occupational enclaves there was no COVID-19. I know this isn’t true of course. And I don’t know why I felt so differently at seeing people bare faced at Hobby Lobby. It’s completely illogical.
My sister introduced me to a book a little while ago called Designing Your Life. I haven’t read it and asked her to explain to me how it’s different from other self-helpy books about organizing your life.
“The author talks about designing your life versus making plans,” she said. “You design your life the way you might design a room in your house. You make a plan and buy some pieces, but when you put your pieces in place, you might discover that something doesn’t work in that space. So you move things around, and it’s more of an iterative process.”
To think about life as a design process is a more helpful model than say, finding your passion. Perhaps because in a design process you can account for the fact that you might not know exactly what you want, and so you allow yourself the freedom to make changes as necessary.
When I think about how we came to land in Houston and the lifestyle we had hoped to achieve, we made assumptions about specific neighborhoods—and about ourselves—that haven’t panned out as expected. Some things aren’t working the way we had hoped. Rather than get bent out of shape about what could have been, it’s time to get to designing and adjusting variables.
The great thing about designing is that the next iteration doesn’t have to be perfect. If you find that a framed picture doesn’t work in a space because it’s too small, you can find a wall that doesn’t dwarf the picture. If that’s still not quite right, you can try portrait versus landscape. You keep working it and improving on little details until you’re satisfied or you just plain don’t feel like fussing with it anymore. The same goes with the variables and details or our lives. So, it’s time for me to start fussing with the details of our life design.