Working Hard at Work Worth Doing

The hours go on and I sit in my office, working away, waiting for inspiration, and scratching away at one of my numerous drafting pads. Desk drawers full of notebooks, shelves full of books, and file boxes full of papers line my office- hopeful reminders of my past and decidedly present inspirations. Black pens quiver in anticipation of something new and truly great. Papers clutter the wide, seasoned desk, remnants of former busy nights.

The morning comes early, dreary, and cool. Promptly, I rise and get moving, eager to start working once again. After a quick run and then prepping for the day, it’s an hour or so of emails and notes. I write and play piano and design all morning, and then it’s off to a couple of meetings before coming back to the office for more creativity, more work, and especially, more coffee.

Theodore Roosevelt once said “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

I’ve always loved that quote and felt that it describes my life and goals in many ways. When I reread that quote, which is hung above my desk, I am reminded of why I spend long hours doing research and working on numerous projects. I remember that I am working to make the world more beautiful, more elegant, more equitable, and more loving.

Often in the course of our professional lives, we are forced to work on unnecessary, rather uninspired, and unworthy tasks. It is at these moments that we realize how rewarding it is to work away at things that are truly worthy of our efforts. For, lest we turn into lonely, saturnine individuals, we must work every day to ensure that all of our energy is utilized in making the world a better place.

When I finally fall to sleep in the deepest hours of the night, I always try to look back on the day with gratitude, but also with austere, censorious meticulousness. Because the day I lose those compulsions toward detail- especially as it is corollary to the beneficialness of activities, is the day that my efforts and my work will no longer be worthwhile.

I pride myself on my constant pursuit of my better self, yet I am also forlorn when I look back upon the mistakes of my past. And so, it is with regret, but also motivation, that I go about my work, striving for greatness, but not getting lost without the most-important, larger picture. Work is only worth doing when it is done with the utmost passion and impressive scrupulousness. At no other time will work be worthwhile, no matter the honorability or meritoriousness of the work itself. It is what each of us instills in our daily duties that gives our lives meaning and gives relevance to the words of Theodore Roosevelt.

If nothing else, we owe it to ourselves to nurture our lives through thoughtfulness and hard work. One day, we too may look back and see that our endeavors were worthwhile. If nothing else, it’s something to strive for.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

The Way We Live

San franisco offices at night

The way we live is the way that the world is. We live for the beauty in everything that we see. We live to become better, to become brighter, and to become more alive.

We follow our dreams because it is the only thing we know how to do. We follow the people we hope to become, living each day, hoping that it will matter. Every day we wish for the life we want to live, but it is a long way off. We dream because we must have hope, we must will ourselves to live on.

We work tirelessly day-in and day-out, pushing forward into the unknown, groping for the future we so desperately wish to possess. Work becomes us because work is the final frontier; work is the path to our dreams. When we are young, we believe that dreams just come true, that one day we will simply wake up, and our aspirations will have become reality overnight. But soon we realize that the world is so much more intelligent and complex than that. To see a dream realized without contemplation and magnificent labor is to have created a volatile and unsustainable dream. We find out that in order to maintain happiness and to sustain that dream, we must work every day for it.

We live to work, to learn, and to help the world become a more beautiful place. The world is our canvas and we have to paint a more beautiful picture, leaving our own unique mark on history.

Our own unique perspective fuels us; we charge on, moving towards an unknown, but unexpectedly spectacular goal far off in the future. And we are successful, not because of outside influences, but because of our on interior drive for success. We change the world because of the way we live, the way we choose to live each and every day of our lives.

We are the ones who’s light’s stay on many hours past dusk as we work on into the night. We are the ones who are up at dawn and ready to change our lives, our careers and the entire planet each moment.

We are not alone, we are living together and for each other; our purpose on this planet is to love one another and make the world a more equal, loving, and prosperous planet overall.

This is the way we live, and it’s the way we should be living. Because this is the life we were meant to live and these are things we are supposed to be doing. And we must continue on, learning, living, thriving, working, loving, and thinking every day. That’s the way we live.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Rain, Sky, Freedom

Freedom

As I write today, I look out the window at the dark and cloudy sky. The rain gently dribbles down from the clouds, soaking the green grass and making rings on Eve Ponds. I read today about all the people celebrating what a great country we live in. I want to celebrate, but I also am trying  to comprehend what country they’re living in. It’s clearly not mine.

As I write today, I think about all the things that I take for granted, all the freedoms that I forget about, but all the injustices there still are. On the one hand, I feel like I live in the greatest country on Earth. It is truly the land of opportunity, the land of dreamers. But on the other hand, I feel that there is still so much hate in this world and even in this country. We are free, yet unfree. We can say what we want, and live where we want, but yet we are stifled in who we are, and who we can love. We still have a long way to go in terms of equality, civil rights, and in simply loving each other more. When I look around I see so much ignorant hate infesting the beautiful places in this world, I almost cry. But I have not lost hope, there are still people in this world who are saving the virtues of humanity. There are still people who care about others, who love each other, who accept diversity, and who simply light up this world with their spirit.

I still believe in freedom, because as I look out on this gray-blue sky feeling the energy in the air, I know that I have more freedoms than I know. I am free to be me, the gay fashionista, complete with makeup, scarves, and v-necks. Yet in some places I still feel uncomfortable, like an outsider in a town that hasn’t seen someone like me in a long time. I shouldn’t have to feel like this. I shouldn’t have to feel like I have to hide who I am because of some nobody who can’t handle the truth. But that is the reality of where we live; it’s the consequence of freedom. Freedom allows hate. It shouldn’t, but it does. That’s the sacrifice we make though. All we can do is try to make this world more beautiful, more loving, and more accepting.

As the fireworks burst into colors above my head, I realize that I am very thankful for where I live. I am thankful for the spirit we call the American Dream. I am thankful for having what I do. And I realize that I love the fact that as a gay man, I am able to express myself without fear of persecution. I can look at things that way, but I will still work my entire life so that each an every one of us can have equal rights. I want every single person to be able to love who they want and be who they are.

As I designer, I live for the beauty of the sky above, for the rain coming down, for the dream we all share, and for the freedom to express. As a designer and an artist, I live for the freedom and liberty that all deserve. I represent freedom, and I will always be free. Freedom is what makes this land so great.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones