Hello, hello, helloooo…
A reverberating sound, a similar image, an event, a traumatic experience, a life lesson. Everything has happened before, history repeats itself, this is a given. We tend to do the same things over and over again. Do we learn from our mistakes? Sometimes. Do we take those lessons and avoid the same problems in the future? Rarely.
As a graphic designer, I am used to noticing patterns. Visual patterns, social patterns, marketing patterns, it’s what I do. As a global community, our attention span ebbs and flows like a wave on the ocean. Sugar is safe, then it isn’t, social media is in and then it isn’t, bell bottoms are in and…well, forget that last one. Why this constant up and down? Why the indecision? You think with the internet connecting us all it would unite us in one mind, but it fractures us apart with more ferocity than talking about politics in public. Whatever happened to the collective consciousness?
Some echoes are timely, like electing a president, the Americans had issues back in the eighties electing a former actor as president, we now have the same issues electing an egotistical businessman as president. I’m hearing the same concerns about qualifications and that they will ruin the country. “Wouldn’t it be funny if they won?” they say, and they do.
Some echoes are cultural some similar, some very different. You remember when you were small and you heard the Song Fur Elise by Beethoven coming down the street in all of its computer generated, elevator muzak, music box glory. You would run up to your mom like Eddie Murphy did as a kid and screamed at the top of your lungs “ICE CREAAAAAM…ICE CREAAAAAM.” But in Taiwan the same song is played by the garbage trucks that come twice a day, five times a week. One giveth and one taketh away. Or how I was astonished that a whole country of people ate like me and my family when I travelled to Holland after being raised by two Dutch parents (I know, duh) but it felt comfortable and familiar. It felt like home, an echo that repeated with every beat of my own heart. Home sick and not at the same time.
Some echoes are biological. My daughter is a lot like me in many ways, of course, mostly in the ways that drive my wife nuts, like bad with money, silly sense of humour and lazy. But there are glimmers of my wife in there too and those echoes make my heart smile. That fact that two echoes of two different people can resonate in one person. My daughter, in her own right, is one of the most unique and original people I’ve ever had the chance to meet and I know she will pass that on to her kids when she has them. I love to see generational tendencies in families, one such example is my nephew Charlie. Everyone says I look like him. He is a good looking kid, so I can see why people would think that. But you be the judge, here is a picture of me and my nephew side by side. He is almost a year old at this point and I love him to bits. Almost happy birthday little buddy!
Some echoes are tragic. Like ebbs and flows in our personal judgment, not learning from our mistakes. Whether it’s because of selfishness or just ignorance. Like addiction or abuse, hurting others around us again and again. Or the tragedy could be a loss, as we get older we lose more and more loved ones and friends. It may just be part of life, but the sting of losing a loved one never gets any easier. But we can console and educate our young ones on how to deal with it.
And some echoes are fading. After starting the blog again I found it hard to find new things to talk about on the blog. But like an echo you yell into a cave, it eventually goes away and goes quiet. You have to yell again, start the cycle over again. I found out as I was redesigning the blog and reading through old posts, my ideas and my outlook had changed. I am older and wiser with a new set of lenses on my opinions and perceptions. It’s been ten years since the first post and in that time I have taught myself a lot. I may not always have listened, but I should know how to recognize those echoes when they come up again. And if I listen hard enough I can avoid the bad ones and resonate with the good ones and play my life like a big pop-culture, family, introspective harp. So listen to your echoes and yell out some new ones. Teach your loved ones to yell into the abyss and listen to what it says, because what comes around goes around, again and again…and again.