Have you ever noticed how when you are aware of something in one area of your life, it tends to show up in another area?
Just last week, we as a family were talking about focusing on one thing at time, giving something our full attention, not being distracted by all the possibilities surrounding us at any given time. To be quite honest, this conversation took place with our teenagers in the context of not texting while driving! Focusing on driving is more important than any text message could ever be, no?!
In the wake of that conversation … the content for Week Five of my Design class arrived in my in-box. The subject? White Space. What, you might ask, does that have to do with texting while driving? Read on, My Friend.
White space in design is defined as all the space in a design that is NOT cluttered by photos, writing, color, and doo-dads. That space can be so effective in bringing attention to the real subject at hand. Perhaps it's the words. Perhaps it's the photos. Check out some ads in your favorite magazine and you'll see what I mean.
I immediately thought of our family's "Focus Conversation" and my mind began connecting the dots and drawing analogies from Design-White-Space to Life-White-Space. It's easy to accumulate clutter in our lives, in our homes, in our brains, no?
We collect things. We buy more. We are consistently 'cleaning out our garages'. We are inundated by media of all kinds. For example, in one of the grocery stores that I frequent occasionally, there are TVs everywhere, constantly-streaming information and ads! In the produce section, they are teaching me how to make a fruit salad. In the meat department, it's how to grill my favorite cut. At the check-out counter, it's something AND everything else, including the latest Hollywood gossip on all the tabloid magazines. IT'S OVERLOAD! And frankly, I do much less shopping in that store now than I've done in the past.
Before we know it, we have no white space left in our existence. And this is not a good thing.
White Space allows for pause in the busy movement of our everyday. White Space feels safe because it allows room for growth, expansion, and thought beyond what is currently visible. White space avoids chaos. Clutter dissipates in the midst of white space.
Where am I headed with all this chattering? I'm encouraging you to slow down, to smell roses, to read, to watch the clouds move, to savor your afternoon drink, to spend time doing things that might seem mindless at the time, but that results in rejuvenation and relaxation.
I encourage myself AND you to create white space in your life. Our calendars don't have to be covered with ink, with all manner of appointments and obligations. Our cars don't have to always be running from one event to another. Our phones don't have to always be in service. For those of you who know me personally, you know that I'm preaching to the choir! I have news though … This year 2010 has already been bushels better for me because I'm allowing myself to watch TV with my kids sans guilt, to read a whole book on a Sunday afternoon sans guilt, to put my cell phone on "silent" earlier in the evening, to sleep a little later if I need the rest, or to spend 20 minutes in a bubble bath sans guilt! White Space has been good for me this month …
Here's to White Space sans guilt! Cheers!