Outside the bistro I’ve noticed JJ Lee, who I’d seen for the first time in one of MetroVancouver’s sustainability breakfasts. It was the first Wednesday of June and the Flame was having its last session of the season. I’ve been going to this storytelling event for quite a while now and each occasion has had a charm of its own. After asking whether he was about to speak, I shared with JJ my appreciation to the story I’d seen him telling and what had brought me to the event that day. We shook hands and I went back inside to sit with Ruth and Aviad who would be returning soon to Israel.
Storytelling is all around us. We grow up listening to one another and our life becomes a story. When I had completed the urban design program, one of the skills that seemed to me worth developing, was that of storytelling. Urban design focuses on the well being of people in the context of the built environment. My aim as a designer is to employ my skills for the benefit of balanced urban living. Understanding the human story can be useful in my process.
Being content in life seems to be a search that many people struggle with. I feel fortunate to have experienced what had come at me in life while making the most out of each opportunity. At times it felt like a struggle but the feeling of being fortunate has continually grown in me. The very few minutes I’ve shared with JJ Lee have shown me how simple making the most out of opportunities could be.
He stepped up to the stage and greeted the audience and hosts in his friendly manner. Then, in the still quite noisy surroundings of the bistro’s chattering I’ve managed just barely to hear him. He had addressed me, who he’s seen for the first time just seconds before, in name. It usually takes me a few times before I manage to remember new people’s names. Then he thanked our friends for spending their late moments in Vancouver to enjoy that special gathering of storytelling.
What I try to take from storytelling is geared towards design. My whole life I’ve been playing with concepts and ideas and turning them into tangible outcomes that enhance people’s lives. Stories connect us. Design strives to make connections. The struggle to be content is not an end result: it is a process that ignites in us the joy of being who we are.