In the 60s people talked about “integration.” In the 80s, it was “celebrating the differences.” Now you hear words like “transparency,” “remix,” and “mashup.” Whether it’s done carefully and intentionally, or it just happens, it’s all about the blurring of what once were differences — differences between our work lives and home lives, our public activities and our private activities, and even elements of our identities, such as race, ethnicity, and age.
Of course there’s are frightening aspects associated with this feeling of everything coming together. People of my generation were educated to think that things were better off clearly defined, categorized, and controlled. This wasn’t the best preparation for a world that now prizes the abilities to perceive connections, to keep moving forward despite ambiguity, and to monitor fast-moving, continuous feedback loops. Problem-solving has become more important than problem-prevention.
Interestingly, the new ways of thinking, and the new technologies inextricably mixed with them, are leading people to revisit older ways of doing things. Many of these old ways pre-date my generation and pertain more to my grandparents’ lives: eating locally grown food, and appreciating the aesthetics of handmade crafts. Many of the younger people I work with in the tech field are enthusiastic gardeners, knitters, cooks, musicians, and do-it-yourselfers.
The more I explore the new, and revisit the old, the more I enjoy myself! I can’t always control the long-term outcomes, but I can, each day, control the steps I take toward my goals. I think often of Steve Jobs’ assertion that “the journey is, and will continue to be, the reward.”
My best wishes to you for a happy and healthy year; one in which the rewards of the journey are many.