It’s hard to believe I’m already 3 weeks into the new semester, and two weeks into my internship. The weeks are getting busier and before I know it, my thesis show will be here. Since that thought creates a feeling of panic deep within my soul, I’m going to keep those thoughts to a minimum. I just finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, and I feel so inspired about my thesis topic. While my topic is not happiness, happiness is closely related to joy. There’s lots of inspiring messages from the book that has nothing to do with thesis, which excites me too. I spend a lot of time being negative, and it really gets me no where. A lot of my negativity in the last few months comes from school and my efforts to reconcile some of my choices. Whenever I go down this road of thinking, I’m so quick to dwell on negativity and unhappiness. After reading Gretchen’s book, I think it’s all a matter of framing. While there are things I’m not happy with, there are LOTS of things I’m happy about. Why don’t I ever think of those first? This ultimately takes me back to my thesis topic. Joy is such a hard topic to discuss. Why is that? Why don’t we want to acknowledge moments of joy and happiness? Why do we feel uncomfortable talking about them? We had a great discussion about this subject in my thesis class yesterday, and I’m loving how all these things are fitting together … real life, school, Gretchen’s book, and my thesis.
The quote above is from my fortune cookie last night. I enjoy fortune cookies and they always make me feel introspective. I often think, what can I apply this to, and last night was no exception. Several hours later I found a way to apply these words of wisdom. After reading more of The Happiness Project and thinking about my life, I can apply this to school. I know deep-down, I made the right choice by going to Pratt. While I usually take the easy route, by criticizing, and complaining, I’ve really done some amazing things in Grad School.
Pratt provided me with the opportunity to move to New York City, a dream of mine for several years, and study graphic design. I was invited to participate in a workshop with Experiment Jetset. This summer, products I designed will be available in Barnes & Noble stores across the country, something with MY NAME on it. If it wasn’t for Pratt, I would have never gone to Australia, and traveled outside the country for the 1st time. I was accepted into the first year of a brand-new MFA program. While this last opportunity has been a source of recent frustration, I know the MFA program is exactly where I need to be. Again I’m so quick to criticize, but for the first time in Grad School, I have my own studio space, with three amazing designers. I’m in classes with 22 students just as committed to their degree as me, something that is missing in Pratt’s MS program. The experience I’m getting in my program with my peers has been invaluable to me, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. So, in the future, I’m going to remember to “Pat yourself on the back for making that right choice.”
One of Gretchen’s Secrets of Adulthood says, “It’s easy to be heavy, hard to be light.” It’s so easy for me to be negative and dwell in that, but it does take more effort to be positive and happy. Whenever I force myself to be happy, I generally feel better. So that’s my mission this semester. As my friend Skyler says, BEST SEMESTER EVER! I need to move beyond joking about that phrase, and really believe it. This also applies to the subject of joy. It’s easy to be heavy, hard to be light. I think that’s why some people have such a hard time with the word. It’s much easier to be discerning and suspicious of the word, to reject it, and as Gretchen says, “to shake cheery folk out of their fog of illusion.” It’s easier to avoid the fog, than to walk though it.
One last interesting thesis tie-in from Gretchen’s book, in the November chapter, she mentions of the following prayer by Saint Augustine of Hippo, which includes the line “shield your joyous ones.” Hopefully my thesis can help make a case for the joyous ones, and within my paper and exhibition, I can protect or shield this area of study.
I think I’ll use that prayer as a dedication in my designed thesis book. A good introduction don’t you think? I’m excited to start writing my paper, and put all these pieces together. This week my goal is to start designing my joy applications and create mock-ups of my exhibition projects. Hopefully I’ll get some good writing in there too.