The Value of Living Thankful

By Justin Brown, Senior Art Director

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – a time for giving thanks, family gatherings, stuffing your face with food, watching football and taking naps. There’s a trend of using the days of November leading up to Thanksgiving as a way to share what you’re thankful for. For me, it’s everyday.

I like to think as I’m getting older my heart’s being transformed to see and appreciate the gifts other people have. Not just appreciate, but really be happy and excited for them. It’s been a long process happening in me as I’m becoming more comfortable with who I am as a person/designer/son/husband/father.

Jealousy, envy, defeat, were emotions that ruled me whenever I saw someone’s work that was much better/different than my own. This happened a lot when I was first starting out in design but it’s more than just designers that suffer, it’s a human condition. We want to be better than everyone else but when we only focus on ourselves we miss the bigger picture. There can not be community without unity. There’s no “I” in team, even if there is an “M” and “E”, they’re out of order and that’s just stupid thinking.

Our consumer culture is constantly yelling at us that we need more – more money, food, time, memory – more everything. That’s just not true and we need to stop. We need to slow down and be thankful for what we have. The fact that you have at least one person who cares about you and listens to what you have to say is amazing. You shouldn’t take it for granted.

I used to think in order to be a good designer I needed to be perfect at everything, in every medium. It became exhausting and I was losing focus. I’m learning there’s no such thing as perfection. If there were, where would new ideas come from? You can pursue it but you can’t become it. We can only learn from it. I make things that aren’t perfect and I’m becoming okay with that. My grandfather use to say “I may not know much, but what I do know, I know it damn well.” That’s over fifty years of farming wisdom I live by. It’s not perfection, it’s knowledge. I see several designers who are pixel perfect or doing other creative stuff and I’m thankful for that. There’s value in knowing what you know and knowing it “damn well.” It’s inspiring and that’s what I’m after.

I’m excited to be a part of the design community, watching more people come in to their own and really shine. I’m seeing it happen more and more and it feels good to have these emotions lifted and replaced with love and joy for others. I want everyone to become who they really are.

As I sit in my home and look out the window, the value of living thankful is overwhelming. I’m thankful for the wisdom of my wife that challenges me, the unconditional love, smiles and squeals from my one-year old little boy and our families that live miles away. When I stop looking for the next step, I appreciate where I am. I’m finding value in everything around me.

And how can anyone truly value life if you’re always worried about the future? In the end nobody will remember how many “followers” you have or how many “likes” you get. All people will remember is the way you made them feel – the real value of living thankful.

From my family to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

*smiley face*

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