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The Armstrong Family Circus

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A moment away from being

Saturday October 29th 2011

by Paul Armstrong
 

 

There is never a moment in life where you know who you are. As each moment and decision and reaction and circumstance unfolds and disappears, all we are left with is reflection. Memory. You might know what to do or say, but we only know who once were.

 

Luke (our rambunctious and easy going two— yes, he is both of those at the time, I don't care that they seemingly can't go together, he manages to be infuriatingly destructive and quietly peaceable— and half year old) is sitting on the couch next to me, pretending to read as I read. He'll occasionally just look at me, his face getting closer, smiling; waiting for me to notice him. I glance over and he chortles and we play the game over again. He wants my glance, a notice, a smile, the simple acknowledge that he is there. In a way that's what we all want in the world. From our peers. Or friends. Or idols. Or parents. Or God. A simple acknowledgement to our existence. 

 

Previously, I reflected on my choices — and how they have both positive and negative side affects; regardless of how "good" the motive may be — which has gotten me to thinking about my investments. The things I acknowledge (or want to be acknowledged for). Where I spend my money and my time and my talent and my love.

 

I know I'll never be the best at any one thing in my life. Never the best father. Never the best husband. Never the best designer (or more to the point, provider for my family). Never the best follower of Christ. At one point in my life (ok, at many points in my life; FINE! Almost all points in my life — still. Sigh. Happy?). I used this as an excuse to never try harder (I know that's lame, but I think it's more common than not). Despite the fact that none of us will be the best — mostly because the very definition of "best" is at the very least, impossible to universally accept — is no excuse not to try our best. But even more to the point, what do you want to strive to be best at — is it even worthwhile? Which is where I am right now. What do I want to pour myself into to be the best?

 

I love being a graphic designer. I'm fairly decent (some days). But it's also a mostly fleeting, trivia and inconsequential act of creation. I don't create art. I don't create culture. I make no lasting impact of the world. Even if I get peer acknowledgement; the temporary nature of my work often becomes an overwhelming burden of worthlessness. Being the best at design is to be a small blip on a narrow slice of the whole of the world at this time in our history (of course I realize that's not always true, but for 99% — no, stop, let's not get political — of us, even at our best, the design will never globally make significant impact). Even if I were the "best", it only lasts until another agency or firm or individual comes along and "redesigns" it. The strive for being the "best" becomes dross. Though I try my hardest, I understand I will not be the best — and I'm ok with that. So I strive to be satisfied and fulfilled and provide for my family.

 

The best that I can do — and by best I mean: to strive for, to constantly improve upon — is to love my family, my friends and others (regardless of my feelings for them). That is where I see I; and maybe us all, can have the greatest impact on this earth. And I'm not trying to be all feel-goodery and new age and one world, blah blah blah — I honestly believe this from what the Bible teaches and what Jesus lived (which is where I base as much of what I do on — and again, do it very poorly). We are just children looking up for a smile and acknowledgement. Try your hardest in everything; but be at your best in living. 

 

 

 

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