Existentialism. Design and Carrots.

I have been procrastinating. There are so many thoughts that would be useful to share and hopefully impact and provoke friends who read it ..but it has been hard to get down to it. I have been exhausted and very challenged spiritually and emotionally of late. I’ve been digesting it all. Yesterday I had a good laugh at myself and thought, yes – I’ll write about that.

I came across the programme for the AZA2012 Biennial Festival, advertised as Africa’s first and largest premier urban culture festival, bringing together leading-edge thinkers and multi- disciplinary practitioners in the built environment from around the globe. Its happening in Cape Town, My Town, next week. Of course I am so excited I can barely contain myself but NO, I wont be going as the registration is R4800 and I’d need ludicrous babysitting help which isn’t really available. Here’s the part where I laughed: I spent a good hour trying in fits and starts to read through the programme to see what I could be missing, but ended just turning off my computer to rationalize with my 3-yr old why she should eat her carrot in smaller bites to avoid choking. In my mind, the only thing keeping me from passionately debating the challenges facing the built environment is some cash and wardrobe choices. The reality is that I am not that person anymore.

I am my greatest deceiver.

I could go headlong into the work vs stay at home debate, quote all kinds of statistics (to convince myself)…but for me there is no debate anymore. I played for both teams. I can’t handle the sacrifices required to be made by me in order to be away from home the whole day (school holidays are a complete other story). The amount of input, teaching, care that my kids require on a day-to-day basis is epic. I had a full-time job, I had some money to throw at this problem and I hated it. I enjoyed working, even more, I enjoyed telling people I worked and I loved getting taken more seriously. I enjoyed the extra money. I hated being out of touch with my kids. It’s a tough tough, tough thing for every mom (and dad) to wrestle with. It’s about priorities, choices.

I miss my career. I really do. I spent 5 years at University, blessed to study Architecture and Urban Design, knowing almost everyday what a rare and precious thing it is to know and follow your passion. I hope that as my defacto homeschooling arrangement develops that I will again have to opportunity to design and engage with the built environment…under the leadership of someone who appreciates my ‘underdeveloped’ CV and ability to create an enthralling color-by-numbers picture.

If not, I’ll remember Robert Frost’s words: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”





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