I once wrote a poem called “Profession of Mission” in which I attempted to write a personal mission statement. The poem rambled a bit, begged for clarity in my life’s purpose and ended with the word “crossroads” – no punctuation or finality – intentionally open-ended.
I wrote the poem in 2009 at age 44 – clearly the beginning of Mid-Life Crisis. Yes, young’uns, even older folks wonder what to do with the rest of their lives.
One week ago, at age 47 – no closer to an answer or closure – I took myself to Manhattan.
If I can “figure it out here, I can figure it out anywhere,” right?
I’m pleased to report that I found clarity in Chelsea … without a stitch of help from any of Woody Allen’s analysts.
But I did have help.
I attended a daylong workshop called “Design the Life You Love” created by New York-based product designer Ayse Birsel.
Ayse became a friend after I heard her speak at a user conference put on by a client of mine, Swedish design-software company Configura. Born in Turkey, Ayse is Pratt Institute-educated, a Fulbright Fellow whose work is in the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, both in New York City.
She is perhaps best known for designing Herman Miller’s Resolve office system and Moroso’s M’Afrique collection. She and partner Bibi Seck own Birsel+Seck, a design studio that also works with Johnson & Johnson, Hasbro, Hewlett Packard, OfficeMax, Renault, and Target. Ayse designed a potato peeler for Target that’s just $7.99, she says. So, even if you never make it to MoMA or Cooper-Hewitt, you can see (and buy) her products at a Target near you.
Ayse has taken her product design methods – which she calls Deconstruction:Reconstruction™ – and developed the “Design the Life You Love” workshop with concepts and exercises that even non-designers can easily grasp.
The workshop has become a mission for Ayse: “Our lives are our most important project,” she says.
To get one large point out of the way: In the new book, The Socialist Car: Automobility in the Eastern Bloc, several contributors rapidly acknowledge the oxymoron of the title as well as the practice of owning a car in the former Soviet Empire. The pri…