Lone Wolf / The Plan / Designer / by George Qin

I want to preface this by saying that this entire document is unedited. It's a raw transcript of how I feel and my frustrations with myself and the world at this point in time. I probably won't be editing this anytime soon. I have far more important things to do with my time at the moment. Perhaps when I am 80, I'll edit this into an essay, or a self-help book, or a novel. But for now, just read it and take what you will from it. My writing is too precious to me to be left saved as an unpublished draft. I want to share it with you guys - whoever you are.

I love travelling alone. I love the independence it gives me, and the pressure I put on myself to make something of the time that I've made for myself. I love being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and have nothing holding me back or tying me down. It's part of who I am - a bit of a loner, a bit isolated, and a bit too much in my own head. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had that sort of a mentality - a lone wolf. I've always been headstrong. I’ve pushed through mistakes and learnt hard lessons. I’d let them damage me, teach me, shape me. I never wanted to run with the plan. It was never my intention to even have a plan. I’ve always relied on my instincts. 

This entire thing we’re involved with called the world, is an opportunity to exhibit how exciting alienation can be. Life is a matter of a miracle that is collected over time by moments, flabbergasted to be in each other’s presence. The world is an exam to see if we can rise into direct experience. Our eyesight is here as a test to see if we can see beyond it. Matter is here as a test for our curiosity. Doubt is here as an exam for our vitality.
— Excerpt from Waking Life by Timothy 'Speed' Levitch

But somewhere along the way, for some reason, I softened. I became convinced by everyone’s words that you needed to “have a plan”. That my life had to be on some sort of a big-picture progression or I would just be some sort of helpless, lost sheep wandering in the desert. So I became convinced that I needed to pick a well-laid out career path. That I needed various academic achievements to prove to people that I was capable, and willing. That I needed to learn to market myself. All things I absolutely hate doing. And in my desperate search for a long-term plan, I became a sheep. I became helpless. I became lost, so I joined all the other sheep at this place called 'university' and I got a degree in something that I let them convince me was useful.

But that’s okay. Sometimes, we have to lose ourselves to find ourselves. Don't get me wrong - I’m not saying that learning to market yourself isn’t a valuable skill, but I hate marketing myself. And of course I see the value in learning and academic achievements - but I hate the idea of qualification for qualification’s sake. But most of all, I hated the idea that I needed to follow some sort of “career-path” to be successful. Before I heard it, I don't think I've ever wanted to be "happy" or "successful". That was never the goal. I've always just wanted to be me, and do things my way. I don’t want to be defined by my profession like 'architect' or 'engineer'. These labels don't interest me because they effectively pigeonhole my ability to create. I want to do everything, and I want to prove that I can do everything without the useless piece of paper.

Some people won't even be stopped by brick walls and mountains, and here I am - deterred by some yellow tape. So I should clarify the point of this entire article. It's a promise to myself. A promise to do things my way again - even if it's the wrong way, because it's the only way I know how. So I will follow this up with a short excerpt on why (and how) I am a designer:

and why I don't really see the point in being one:

The most important thing that I have learnt from my overall education is that genuine innovation and 'good design' stems from resourcefulness. 
When I design things for life - I start with my building blocks. What do I have? What can I use? And what's something great that I can make from this? It could be as simple as making dinner (or if you're a chef - 'designing a menu'). 
It might mean something different to different people - but for me, innovative design is design that maximises the efficiency of its raw materials.

For too long, designers have promoted the idea that design isn't possible for normal people; that normal people should be relegated to the trivial tasks of DOING. Following the instructions of designers, essentially.
But as I've stopped feeling sorry for myself and "grown up" (basically the same fucking thing), I've realised that people need autonomy. People need to do things for themselves, to help themselves. It's something nobody can do for you - taking care of yourself. 

You cannot pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first
— Witt Lowry. Rapper, Artist, Inpsirational human being

So my way of being a designer is to help others grow into designers. To help them achieve their goals - with the space I create. Architecture is the most beautiful when the people in it are happiest.

Design can save the world.

Peace & Love