The eclipse. Chances are you saw it.
Bundled up against the cold, my teenager and I watched quietly from the local soccer fields. Scattered around us other groups whispered, watched and shot photos. Some had chairs. Some sat in the field on blankets while others stayed close to their cars. Some people had their noses buried in their phones. Some listened to quiet music. Others quietly smoked. Down the road families watched from the playground equipment. I'm sure if we crossed the fields we would have seen more groups. Just as I'm certain there were neighbors gathered in driveways around town faces angled to the east and the darkened moon.
It was an amazing spectacle. All of these people doing the same thing at the same time. Individuals, small groups and I'm sure some large groups and parties—all separate but all together. Sharing this event. It was a communal moment.
I had a similar feeling when I left last week's AIGA event.
Four successful designers, each with a unique skill set and practice, each working in the Capital District—came together to share and learn. While there is so much that makes us unique—the types of design we practice, the organizational structures of our businesses, the scale of our dreams and visions, I was reminded once again that we aren't so different.
While I honestly didn't understand a lot of what Seth Louey had to say about his work (I may be the only one who had never heard of Slack) it resonated when he said he has a lot of people depending on his success. Doug Bartow shared that he and his partner named their business ID29 to remind themselves that the two (2) of them together supported nine (9) family members.
Suddenly I felt a strong connection to these guys. We share that feeling of responsibility. People rely on us. And I'm not talking about our clients—who I trust us with their work. And I may not have staff or rent but there is a lot riding on my business. My family depends on my income and regular work to help pay the mortgage, taxes, music lessons, etc.
Sometimes when work is busy and we are keeping our noses to the grindstone it is hard to leave the confines of our workplaces We take so much pleasure in the cult of busy and successful. But this even once again shook me awake and reminds me that the things that tie us together are so much greater than our differences—and that we have a lot to learn from one another.