‘EVERYTHING. Like crossed feet at the beach or in front of the pool going on instagram. Those.’
‘I WANT TO CALL THE NEW SERIES, [deleted].’
‘Oh, well, that’s a bit better. But you can’t call it the other thing.’
‘What other thing?’
‘Didn’t you say lifestyle design, earlier? I mean, you can’t do that, no way, not now. Two years ago, maybe. Because today, it doesn’t mean what you think it means.’
‘I just mean, to you and me, design is about how to make our life better, how to create the life we really want by looking for opportunities and, ideally, creating value for other people so we can make a life doing what we’re good at and what we’re getting better at as a—‘
‘Like that Warren Buffet thing?’
‘Yeah, yeah. Anyway, to you and me design means one thing. It’s about the way we think about how to create the life we really want. Once we examine, that is, what it is we care about. Remember how you did that event, Big D Design?’
‘And no one came, except Sipheng Lim. That was cool. What’s he doing now, anyway? I haven’t seen him around.’
‘He’s making films. You haven’t been around. Are you listening?’
‘Yeah, but it was just too big a concept, you know? Design is, to most people, about photoshop.’
‘So you can’t say that. Lifestyle design, I mean, you can’t say that.’
‘But that’s what it is.’
‘But that’s not what it means anymore.’
‘I mean, it’s been co-opted. The word lifestyle design doesn’t mean using design principles as a tool to make your life better.’
‘It means pictures on the beach of people’s feet.’
‘Feet pictures. Yeah, those.’ *Shrugs* ‘I guess people like taking those now. It’s not my thing, but you know. Feet.’
‘Toes. Toe selfies.’
‘Okay, okay. What if I just call it, SIMPLICITY. Set it up for early March?’
‘Just, yeah. And you’re always wanting to just press go on everything so quickly. Oh, well. It’s you, I guess. So do it, try it. Gotta say, you seem to have a knack for this sort of thing, sometimes.’
‘What sort of thing?’
‘Seeing what people really want to talk about.’
‘Sometimes. But I have a good feeling about this one.’
‘Simplicity. Simplicate and add lightness and stuff. Design-y, but not overstated. Overstating is such bollix. Leave it open, so people who come can help design it, you know? Open it up. Eco and stuff. Open works.’
‘I never could finish a page of Eco.’
‘That was a good idea, though. Co-creating. It’s just not hot right now. It’s not a popular way of doing stuff because people are obsessed with me-ism.’
‘Everything. Like crossed feet at the beach or in front of the pool going on instagram. Those.’
‘I wonder what people would think about those.’
IT IS ODD.
When world of before is no longer the world that you can resonate with. You don’t understand why people are concerned about the things that they seem to place at the tops of their priority lists, and you find yourself wondering how things could possibly have changed, internally, so quickly. Was the trip that long? Did you really go that far? What kind of dimensions did you go out to, without knowing just exactly how it happened? What did happen, what didn’t, and why do you feel so strange now, in your own rooms, in your old spaces? Certainly the crazy time of life is when you’re between things—in the interstice between a prior life, and one that’s about to become. Writers call these ‘chapters’. White-haired mountain dwellers in India you may meet will call them ‘yugs.’ ‘Four yugs,’ they’ll say. ‘Birth. Learning. Application. Preparing for death.’
While waiting between THEN and AHEAD OF NOW, so many things are swimming about in your mind. You want to talk about this, sort of, but you also want to hide away and try to process things for yourself. You can’t decide how to start, and you stare at the walls that used to seem so comfortable and familiar but now are just… walls.
Which feel, now, with this perspective and space intime, deafeningly blunt. Where is the good stuff?
The stuff that makes us feel something. That feels… Human? Ah, yes. That. —AS
A COUPLE OF PEOPLE have asked me why I make ‘N’. Very fair question, especially if you’ve been invited by AS recently. If you like myth and fiction, this story, ‘The Man who Discovered N’ might be fun.
Urgency of NOW
FRAMING MOMENTS. The big idea for ‘N’ is to frame ONE moment of CONNECTION with 15 other people who are curious about what an ‘N’ event might be like to experience in real life, who dare themselves to take a chance on something so new it’s almost weird. This might be really scary for some people, because what’s the outcome? What’s in it for you, what’s in it for me, in other words, what’s the value?
Question: what was the value of growing up close to grandparents who cradled you when you were a baby? Or, what is the value of hearing natural sounds of birds, or of stepping onto a boat when you’re not sure where it’s going, or how, or what you have to do to keep it moving? What about when you take a chance on a trip, on a new relationship, or on another thing that will push you to challenge your own sense of identity, the very essence of who you really are?
N. Making space. For a moment of connection. In a bounded box. Handled with care.
‘N’ is coming. Bangkok