This was the first time in 13 years I hadn’t sent out a holiday card. Between work and family time constraints I just ran out of time. And I was feeling bad about it. I had failed. I resolved to send out a New Years’ card, but I knew realistically that wasn’t going to be possible either, as we were leaving to visit family and wouldn’t be back until the New Year had started. Email everyone? I thought. That’s even worse than not sending a card. It’s admitting you had failed, and I wasn’t ready to do that.
So, off we went to visit in-laws in Brazil. While there, my mother in law, a ceramist, says to me, “you are going tho think I have gone completely crazy! Look at the work I am making now” and proceeds to show me some very irregular shaped wood-fired clay bowl with glaze oddly dripped down the sides. “It’s wabi-sabi” she proclaimed. Wabi what? I immediately wiki’d it. “In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” I read the definition out loud to her. “Exactly,” she stated. She proceeded to explain to me how now she doesn’t want her work to be perfect. She is striving to capture the imperfection of life in the clay. How liberating, I thought. To be allowed to be imperfect. I have decided that this will be the year of wabi-sabi. Full of imperfections and always aware of our transient nature. Celebrating my incompleteness.
Hopefully, all those who didn’t see my holiday card this year aren’t too concerned that some ill-fate has befallen the Antonini-Jehangir family. Maybe they already know that some years you just don’t get the card out.