Today I was interviewed for an upcoming NCSU School of Design alumni magazine article and for the first time in an interview, I was stumped by a question. She didn’t ask me what my ‘favourite font’ was (thank goodness!), nor did she ask me why I thought typography was cool (it is, of course, just don’t ask me to tell you why in 30 seconds). She asked me what my goals were.
Now this shouldn’t be a difficult question. It’s not a trick or someone asking me a date (I only remember Beatrice Warde’s birth and death dates – anything else, I have to look up, OK?!). It was a basic question about where I want to take my innovative thinking, which was the theme of the upcoming issue.
So I took my (new & adorable) dog for a walk along the beach on this super foggy day and, after an hour, I came up with an answer: the reason why I couldn’t answer her about my next step is that I can hardly believe where I’m at now. This is what I wrote to her:
I never ever thought I’d live in Canada or own my own business. I always knew I’d be a teacher and I had hoped that I would travel, but to think that I would be able to combine the two? Unthinkable.
I had quite specific goals about my life when I was younger – who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do. And as I’ve grown older, I can now see that those goals were only because I already knew them – they were already clearly defined in my life. For example, I had wanted to teach design at a University in a Southern town. Well of course that’s what I wanted because it was all I knew!
I had never thought about attending graduate school in Europe (although I knew that I would get a Masters somewhere in something or another), nor had I thought about becoming a typographer, even though I was a book designer. Actually, I hesitate to mention this, but I really didn’t know that one could be a typographer until I was well in the middle of my Masters year at The University of Reading. Yes, it’s true!
Perhaps what I’m saying is this: that one’s future can be far more amazing than one can ever predict or prepare for, so why stress yourself predicting or preparing? I now live on a quirky little island on the coast of (what seems like) a distant ocean in a country that I never previously thought twice about. I’ve become a far more interesting person living a far more interesting life than I could have ever imagined. This is due to allowing possibilities to happen, to being myself, and to being surrounded by absolutely fantastically intelligent people in my field.
So what’s next?
I have absolutely no idea – and I want to keep it that way, too.