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I’ve Been Thinking About The Unexpected
and how to pivot
In the summer of 2021, we were in the beginning stages of planning a lake house that was located in Iowa, which is the hometown of our clients (a husband and wife and two younger children) who were currently living in New York. It was going to be a place to gather with their friends and family during the holidays and summers to reconnect with the people they love and don’t get to see as they live away. We had planning meetings discussing where everyone would sleep, whether they wanted seating at the kitchen island, and put a lot of thought into the best place to have the barbecue and outdoor dining area. As we talked, my mind started envisioning the flow of the home, how it would host the family best, and where the best views would be. I imagined all of the busy Saturday afternoons with guests and the quiet nights with just their family.
Working with a local-to-area architect, we started to get the plan more solidified. The client made a trip to Iowa to walk the property again with the architect and the builder. They had said they would let us know what decisions/next steps were decided at the meeting and give us an update after the meeting. After a week went by, we sent a few messages “just checking in” and got nothing back. Another week was going by and we were starting to get worried so we reached out to the architect to see if he had heard anything.
I was on vacation with my family and my phone rang - it was the architect calling. I stepped away from breakfast and received one of the saddest calls. The architect told me that our client, Thomas, had gone home after the meeting with the architect, took a shower and while in the shower suffered a massive heart attack and did not survive.
I hung up with the architect and broke into tears. I was unusually touched by this news. I had only met Thomas a couple of times via Zoom and his wife a few times more, but I had been privy to their plans for the future and I felt the devastation of their lives completely changed in a moment. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We were going to build something together. I had imagined their future with them. Thomas was especially excited about the lake house. I can barely talk about it even now, I am getting teary as I write.
As an interior designer, I envision the future and how people live in order to create great designs and architectural plans for my clients. One of the harder things about the job is having a vision that doesn’t get realized. Being a creative you are visionary - you can imagine and see things that don’t exist yet and then work to put on paper what you see in your head so it can eventually come to life.
The thing about this life is despite the visions we may have for our lives and the lives around us, we often don’t get the ability to carry the visions out, no matter how much we want to. When you get that phone call or read the news that changes your life, your perspective, or just the next hour, what do you do? You pivot. You adjust. You grow. You learn. You go with it. You have no choice.
Our sweet clients and their family had to adjust. We put a permanent stop on the project and sadly looked for another project to fill their slot. We mourned for them and sent them an art piece that reminded us of them. With what is happening in the world right now I am seeing people pivoting. They are protesting, educating, learning, thinking, acting, and doing what they feel they can do. Every time we are met with the unexpected, we are also met with new experiences and often opportunities. They’re often not the experiences or opportunities we wish to have, and can be incredibly painful, but these moments change lives, change the world, and definitely change me.
As we all continue to be met with the unexpected I hope that all of us can pivot with the universe instead of fighting it. That we lean into learning and love and turn these unexpected events into something more, to not add to the pain that the unexpected inevitably brings. Let’s stay visionaries and keep imagining even if it’s just based in hope - the exercise is a worthy endeavor and ideas and visions are the very things that lead to our future reality. Keep going, keep imagining, and keep creating.
With my love,