052021: I Need a Camera to My Eye

Photo of a black notebook

Sitting on the train back home to Berlin, after a week at my parent’s home: the idea of my own pillow, my own coffee machine, my own trip to the super market makes me cherish the fact that I am a grown-up; that I only slip into the child’s role for a couple of days a year. I am very thankful for having a family that I can visit over the holidays—we do not argue about politics or vaccines or the Christmas menu. But I am also thankful that I have a life of my own, a life I can design the way I please. That fact that I can do things differently.

As the cities pass by the train window, I flip through my phone’s camera roll. The past year felt longer than usual; whatever happened in the beginning of 2021 appears to be two, three years ago. What is left of it? My brain can’t slice the year up into months anymore, everything gets blurry, and a couple of snapshots throughout the year help to cluster moments and events and ups and downs. What is a good way to make sense of your personal past? I have a messy way of keeping track of life: During the year I switch between various notebooks and note-taking apps, write lists and memories, organize a digital calendar, but everything is all over the place and hard to delve through. As a visual thinker, my camera roll really is the one place that keeps everything connected: A quick glimpse into the past that holds feelings, places, and faces. I wish I’d be less awkward in taking pictures—after all, they’re my extended memory. The smartphone itself doesn’t make me a cyborg; the camera roll does.

Then again: I am still a hopeless romantic when it comes to hand-writing, diaries and notebooks. For 2022, I bought a thick daily calendar, with the great intention to jot down one or two thoughts every day. Inward and outward looking, getting closer to what happens, finding my own language for everyday life, and making it my own.

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2021 wrapped: I designed a poster for Berlinale Talents. Together with Gabriel, I published a small fun book. I’ve been to the sea side, and I walked on the frozen canal. I lived off orange cake and ravioli and fancy lemonades. I wrote a lot less than I wanted, but my blog is alive and well—I still wish we would all go back to blogging and ditch Instagram and its lousy companions. I discovered great new music; just recently: Haruomi Hosono and Gilligan Moss. I read 16 books, and wrote four columns for form design magazine.

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As for 2022: All will continue. Make it yours as much as you can. Another year, another round, make it count.

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