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You would think a full belly, a night’s sleep, love, shelter is the bottom line.
But it’s not.
Things disappoint. Promise thrills and expectations rise.
I wanted to play. I wanted to start. Then captain. Then Harvard (got Cornell). Then Alison, Helen, Jane, Barbara, finally Liz. Marriage became babies, then Great Kids, then adults. Degree, became license, became firm. Building became awards, lectures, writing.
Now I receive justification I did not ask for. But then kicked ass to get. I never wanted to be a part of the American Institute of Architects. I helped make places to live for 25 years then my publisher made me join at 48 to sell the next book.
Then the world had a decade that said my last 25 were part of economic salvation: homes were the way everyone could be great again: forever. I helped make a place for architects who did that: and the instant I joined they asked to get me in ever deeper, running a tiny piece of the AIA.
No, I said.
I always had had my own obsessions – and soon the balloon popped. I kept on doing what I do for the last decade, but there are, now, 50% less of us doing it – like it was 20 years ago. Between 3 or 4 other booms.
But now, in 2 weeks or so, I get to be one of 3,000 of 111,000. First you need justification enough to get licensed (down from 200,000 who have degress), then pay $700 a year to be a member of the AIA (down to 60,000). Then a branch has a committee who reviews nominations (are you kidding?) or as per me, that committee, one of a hundred, finds the Fellow in their midst.
So, at 61, but only just after the AIA decade required for nomination, I get the verification I never sought – but always wanted, and that can never be had and go to Florida to wear a robe – 9 hours on the ground.
Doing is not satisfaction. Getting things done is not verification. Swimming to push air over your gills is not breathing.
There are infinite measures, goals, achievements: but, really, there is only one: living – being given everything – Everything – by a simple, completely unknown, Faith.
I do not think that guy asked to have his last 3 years become billions of humans 2,000 years ago. I do not know if he, in this last week, felt verification. I doubt it.