January 5, 2015

New Year, New Mantra: "One Life Is Too Short for Doing Everything"

The year's last issue of The Sunday New York Times Magazine is traditionally devoted to "The Lives They Lived," featuring brief profiles of people who died during the year. I liked the quote on this year's cover:

I'm well into the 86th year of a life too often driven by axioms like "Too much of a good thing is a good thing" and "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing."

The title quote comes from one of the featured recently departed: Massimo Vignelli (1931-2014). Ever heard of him? I hadn't.

Vignelli was a designer, probably best known for his map of the New York subway system. He often said, "If you can design one thing, you can design everything," and he lived by that maxim.

What I read about him resonated with me, as I contemplate my resolve to live the coming year as if it were my last.

Vignelli was a high priest of the clean and precise. His signature simplicity cut away the clutter found in much commercial design.

He was dedicated to improving how we live, determined "to fight and oppose trivia, kitsch and all forms of subculture which are visually polluting our world."

His comments are good for me to keep in mind as I consider the design of my "final year." Vignelli sought simplicity and quality in his designs. That's what I want for whatever time remains.

It's a Wonderful World
When I mention living this year as though it were my last, people often think I'm depressed. Not so. I think there's a good chance 2015 could be my last year. Even if it isn't, I know I'll become increasingly more physically and mentally handicapped. 

Nevertheless, I can sing along with these ladies, in agreement that it's a wonderful world. Can you identify the lead singers in this video?

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