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That New Year's feeling

I woke up Monday morning and needed— needed —to tear apart our entire kitchen and reorganize everything in it.

The contents of five of the most accessible drawers in our kitchen were neatly and tidily filled with organized collections of excess grocery bags, pot holders, appliance manuals, and basically everything except for the kinds of things we might actually want to use when making meals. Those were uncomfortably crammed into a couple drawers.

So we tore things from drawers and ripped stuff from shelves and emptied the cabinets until all was spread across our kitchen table and counter and another table. We spent every remaining hour that day finding exactly the right place for everything, for good.

I am not a clean and neat person, but I am a designer—particularly in the sense of "design is the process of making the world smart so we can be dumb in peace."

Sometimes, I am struck with intense emotion by how poorly something was designed. (Things I’ve made included!)

The world has so many flaws. So—most definitely—do I. And so do you.

On the worst days, those flaws are loud, impatient, and angry.


But hopelessness is a lie—because there’s always hope. There’s always something we can do. Losing hope is abandoning our power.

I have a friend who’s expressed before an intense distaste for the word "hope". I’ve been meaning for quite some time to have a chat with him about that, but my hunch is that what he doesn’t like is the idea of being positive and hoping things get better.

I don’t buy that worldview either.

People mercilessly mock the seeming fruitlessness of New Year’s resolutions—the idea that some random date on a calendar has some magic power to invoke transformation is indeed silly, of course.

But I’ll tell you that six years ago I desperately needed that "New Year’s feeling" whether it was corny or not. I needed a chance to start all over again and the opportunity to begin something new.

I gave my company a name fitting of the hope I so desperately needed—something that simply marked a new beginning: "and yet". I wrote this to express what it meant to me:

The common phrase “and yet” is poetry’s simple–machine lever.

Whether said with stuttering hesitance or inspiring confidence, it always means a departure from what came before.

“And yet” humbly hints at the precise moment of possibility.

The single most powerful thought that’s ever struck me is: no one can ever stop you from making things better than they are right now.

We all need new beginnings sometimes.

Seize the hope you need in your life.

Here’s to 2014!