Archives for posts with tag: work

This evening I arrived home from work to an empty house. Those of you who are parents can probably understand the beautiful silence that this brings and the contrasting wondering of why is the house empty? Within five minutes my wife, with the kids, pulled into the drive. It was only five minutes of peace and quiet but it was lovely after an intensive day in work.

While we all gathered in the kitchen, my wife explained she wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to get into bed and forget everyone and everything. I can understand that – I think most people can recognise that feeling. So I suggested she go there and I will sort out something for me and the kids for the next few hours. She initially struggled with this notion of surrender but eventually disappeared.

So, first off was dinner. The kids didn’t want the spaghetti that was prepared for them earlier, they wanted chips. I have to admit I wasn’t in the mood of the salad my wife had made in the hope of summer showing up somewhere soon. So chips was a great idea for me as well. However, I took the lazy route and suggested we head down to the local chipper to get a ‘single of chips’. [this is a bag of chips in case you are wondering – heard Ian Dempsey explain this to his guests the other morning on his show].

The local chipper was quiet, just us and the two staff, with the intrusive sounds of the music channel playing on the tv in the corner. Although, I’m always grateful it’s not some sports or sky news playing in the corner. While we waited for our order to deep fry – this is not our regular diet to any health conscious readers – we stood looking out onto the street. Within a minute, a young man carrying a huge box of soft toys enters the chipper. The box contained a huge selection of various coloured animals of our natural and fictitious worlds. When he set the box down on the floor, my two kids jumped at it thinking Christmas had arrived again.

The guy proceeded to open the door on a vending machine (a claw-attempts-to-grab-a-toy type of machine) in one corner of the tiny waiting area to refill the prizes. I reckon I’m not alone in my loathing for the existence of these machines when visiting various locations in our locality – the shopping centre, the cinema, the chemist, the play zone. You know there’s a high chance of pestering going to happen and there’s a better chance of winning the lotto than getting a toy from the claw machine!

Well tonight our luck was here rather than the lotto. I had given the last of my money to the guy making the chips. There was no money left for this game and I anticipated the words of torment that can follow when the kids discover such ‘treasures’. The words were uttered, “Daddy, can we play the game when the man is finished filling it?”, as they rifled through the large cardboard box, picking out their favourite toys.

Before I could answer the question, the guy turned to my two eager kids and simply said, “Sure, take one now, don’t wait for me to finish!” It was so unbelievable that they didn’t really hear him. They asked me again, and I looked at the guy as he repeated his offer – “pick one out now before I put them into the game”. The smiles on their faces indicated that they heard him this time. They looked through the box again and picked out a prize each. They were thrilled. All three of us thanked the guy. The lads in the chipper added to the festivities and gave each of the kids a lollipop. This was one great trip on a Monday evening.

When we got home they shared the story with mammy and were thrilled to explain they got the toy for nothing, and lollipops, it was the best trip ever! Easy joy, easily shared. As we sat down to eat our chips, my daughter (still cuddling her newly acquired pet dolphin) explained that she wants to bring some of her other cuddly toys to the charity shop tomorrow. “I don’t play with them anymore so I’ll let someone else have them. Just like the guys in the chipper – I want to share”. Paying it forward was a nice lesson to start the week.

Anyone else want to share their ‘pay it forward’ story?

I think we have several chairs like this in our home! 🙂

New Year has a tendency to induce our continuous attempts to follow our dreams. After all, you never work a day in your life if you are doing something you love (apparently). Well, I currently have an enjoyable and rewarding job. However, during 2012 I rediscovered a long-lost love I’ve had since childhood that made me rethink my position. This love is design.

In my (not so distant) youth, I spent many hours, day and night, creating designs and images on paper (and other surfaces), or copying stuff I saw around me. Thankfully, in my childhood, someone else was looking after the cooking, cleaning, childcare and bill paying so I had plenty of time for this creativity. Once I became the person responsible for all these tasks I seemed to have forgotten about design and focused on a more ‘practical’ role. Life hasn’t been bad over the years, but I definitely knew that something was missing in my life.

The age of the internet and the smart phone have brought more distractions, but thankfully some have been a blessing to me. Dwell, Wallpaper*, Dribbble and Pinterest are great to watch the creativity of others. It is now easier than ever before to see so many variations of design in a short space of time. The browsing I’ve done on these sites has reminded me of what I hoped to do when I was younger. Unfortunately at that time, I never realised how to turn my passion for design into a ‘practical’ income-earning task. It was easier to gain finances elsewhere and that’s where I went.

Over the last two years I have assisted my wife in (one of) her passions and it allowed me to be creative. The time we could afford within the family to do this has often been restrictive, so not giving it the commitment it needs has often been demoralising. However, in recent months I have tried to create a positive outlook on this and say some time is better than no time. We all have to start somewhere, don’t we?

The year 2012 was coming to an end and I was determined to create a design life for myself. Income from this is not essential but will be a bonus when it happens. Maybe I’ll be saying something different in a few years from now!! However, an inspiration to me during 2012 was a new magazine I subscribe to called Offscreen. The man behind it is Kai Brach and his blog post for December 29th was a good read for me, and I hope to others.

It’s a simple reflection on what he has learnt over the last twelve months as a publisher. But in the opening paragraph he briefly describes what he did to start this magazine. It’s a great achievement and a wonderfully enjoyable read. The work is inspirational to me, the content is educational. I’m using his creativity as a starting block to my dream.

The pace I will take will be more erratic, but the path to design will be followed. Diversions from this path will hopefully be interesting. I’m willing to learn how to be creative (again). I’m hoping designers I meet along the route will teach me what they know. This blog is my way of reflecting on this learning, sharing my experiences with others and hoping I can look back in twelve months and appreciate what I have achieved. Hopefully the love of the subject will still overshadow the idea of it being work. I hope you might be interested in walking with me.