Can You Design Your Life?

Photo of Natalie Chanin of Alabama  Project and her seamstresses via NY Times.

Sorry for the absence lately.  Between the oppressive heat (yuck) and work (yeah) and uncertainty about how long we may stay in our home (don't worry, it's not a foreclosure issue),  blogging and my personal design projects (I'm lazy enough to use possible impermanance as an excuse to not do certain things like repaint the stair hall) have kind of been pushed to the back burner.  But if I'm honest with myself (and my rule of thumb has always been that lying to others is a bad idea;  lying to yourself is fatal), there's more to it than that.  I'm a late bloomer, and as such, am frequently prone to what I think of as cocoon phases--periods where I feel like I'm stuck in some sort of holding pattern, waiting for nature, life, or fate to run its course.

Lately, I've wondering about how much control do we have over our lives.  Or in other words, am I really at the whim of fate?  I've realized that I have put much more thought in my decor than my life.  I've spent hours agonizing over whether or not to use a rug in my living room, but accepted a part-time job offer on less than an hour's mulling over.  I've often started (but never finished) a blog post on the 5 most common decorating mistakes, and the first one is always not doing enough planning, thinking, and design brain storming.  So I think I'm going to try to put the same time, effort, and skills I put into my design projects into my life.

Can you design your life like you do a room?  Can I come up with a life plan based on "I'd like some BoHo, a touch of cottage, heavy on the entertaining, with a dash of dog-friendly?"  Is it pointless to try to plan a life when so many outside influences come in to play?  Is it an ultimately pointless endeavor, or the only way to succeed at the game of life?  Can I stop typing questions?

I posted the picture of Natalie Chanin, a major inspiration for me,  because she seems to have answered these questions with a definite "yes."  She's managed the difficult feat of combining her love of fashion, hand crafts, small town living, and sustainable living with being a major force in fashion, being a down home girl who is also a darling of Vogue.  I highly recommend her books, "Alabama Stitch Book," and "Alabama Studio Style."

Anyway, I think I'm gonna give it a try.  I've tried Sun-in and self-medicated living;  this HAS to be a better option. 

First step, I need to do some brainstorming and figure out exactly what I do want out of life.


beki said...

Can we have a brain storming session together?

Anonymous said...

You can try to design your life, but if you have relationships then your life will always be open to contingencies.
The most essential step is to define your values. What do you stand for? What message does your behavior send to others? If you are part of a team, how do your decisions impact the whole team? Your life is about more than you. While this may seem like it confounds the question, in the toughest moments this key question can help you make decisions with confidence.

Design Optimist said...

i agree, anon, and in my case, I already know that since family, relatives, and close friends are important to me they are going to have to be part of my life plan. I have no desire for a 70's style kramer vs. kramer "finding myself" situation where I abandon home and family. I've never found selfishness to be stylish.

Silver Strands said...

Just found your blog, and this is a very interesting post! Here's the thing about designing a life: you've got to be willing to remodel, rearrange, redecorate on a regular basis. But I totally believe in coming up with a basic design and going for it!
Good luck :)