In thinking about the passing of time, I return to the idea that time-based change isn’t an active process. Aging isn’t something you do; it’s something that happens to you. You are the receptacle, target, wand object, of aging.
I turn 24 today. For the first time in the last eight years, I find myself somewhere very different from where I expected. I’ve lived in France and Belgium since February, even though a year ago, while planning and expecting to move here, I lacked clarity in believing that I would move from Texas. Maybe this literal change in place and setting contributes to the unease in which I find myself. Alternatively, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to slow and think, before chugging into the following year’s cycle. A year ago, I finished my undergraduate, and I was figuring out how to move with my girlfriend to Europe. The preceding year, my only concern was completing my four-year degree, and living with my newly-adopted dog, who allowed me to call newly-returned-to-Austin “home.” A year before that, I was preparing to spend my Spring semester studying French in Lyon. I can continue, but a pattern will quickly emerge: my academic calendar lent itself to cyclical thought, and cyclical metrics for self-improvement and goal setting.
Now, a year removed from that calendar, I’ve had time, and room, to breathe. I realize that much of my urgency was artificial. Busyness creates a sense of importance, regardless of its efficacy and output.
I want to try shifting from this output-oriented mindset, to some type of mindfulness. In my years as an undergraduate, and the year following, I allowed little time for introspection—now, whether or not willfully, that’s changing. I find myself asking now: who do I want to be?
Who am I?
I’m a 24 year old Austinite, living in Belgium with my girlfriend of nearly two years. I love both using and making well-designed products, and currently, I’m working to make Zello, a push-to-talk walkie talkie app, among those nice things. I believe that given the surplus of apps and ideas, true quality and thoughtfulness is rare, and when found, is delightful.
I spend more than half of the year in France, and in travel between France, Belgium, and elsewhere, I always carry my Fujifilm X-T2. Photography creates a foil to design — whereas design gives shape to an idea and function, photography reframes something that is already, and often uncontrollably, shaped.
A year from now, I hope not to have or haven’t changed, but instead to have been mindful of who I am.