1 min read

A final note

Using 2022 as a springboard into 2023...

This end of year rundown was about experiences, and in the majority of those experiences I was a consumer. Not a creator. Not even a participant. I've been thinking about that a lot - in part because I don't like that word "consumer" but don't have a better one. But more because I don't feel all that bad about being on the receiving end of so many excellent experiences.

I've been working this year on cultivating a certain mindset about these things1. Here it is:

When you engage with anything that is the product of a creative process, that thing you're engaging with is an artifact of a person's journey - and often, many people. They are working on something, working through something, working out something. Sometimes it's emotional, sometimes it's purely technical. Often it's a bit of both. Maybe they're experimenting with something new, and maybe they're honing the finer points of something they've been developing for years.

Try to see beyond just the product to find the journey and to recognize the humanity within the process. The two things are inextricable, and when you find both it deepens your shared humanity - with the creator(s), sure, but also with the whole tangled mess of people and cultures and families and relationships. You don't have to look far to find it - it's there in restaurant kitchens, in dance studios, in art galleries, in cinemas, in the dusty aisles of used book stores. It's a bit more work to search it out, but it's worth it.

My entire list of experiences this year is lengthy, and I have immense gratitude to all of the creators whose process I was allowed to witness2.

  1. I've probably been working on it a lot longer, but this year it became explicit.

  2. Hey, there it is - that’s the word I was looking for. “Witness” is much better than “Consumer.”