Now getting to the point of a social life and what purpose that serves for us. In your childhood it's to have a partner in crime, and to have people with which to share you experience with. This is important to my point so remember that sentence. The people that you choose as friends as children, are often measured by there fear (or lack of) for new experiences. What I mean by that is you subconsciously go towards people who want to try the same things as you do and who have similar levels of tolerance for them. There are nuances of course between physical, social, and intellectual experience but you get the picture. So you are not going to hang out with people who constantly do things that scare you senseless. You are going to hang back and find other people who are fearful like you and don't force you to do big scary things all the time. The same of course though works vice-versa. You are equally not going to want to hang out with people who are afraid to try new things if you are the brave one because eventually you will become resentful and feel that they are holding you back. It is this fundamental underlying motive that drives all social interaction. The sharing of experience. So of course this only becomes a problem when people are mismatched in life. Its the tyranny of the majority. By the time you get to secondary school for example you are pretty much expected to like and want to like the same the things as the majority of people do and if you are anywhere above or below this line of accepted behavior then you will be outcast and left to enjoy your experience on your own. Sometimes that is a good thing because it allows you to experience life on your terms but I will get to that point later.
We all start to learn as teenagers and probably younger than that even, that there is an accepted level of fear. Girls should be afraid of spiders, dirt, and excessive physical exertion, and boys should be afraid of crying in front of people and the wider range of emotions in general. (I obviously didn't get that memo). This is all rather general and outdated I know but the point is there is a kind of benchmark that we are being measured against all the time. I am female and to be honest am afraid of very little, I am not afraid of heights, heavy machinery, fighting, wild animals, or dirt. Unfortunately I am pretty weird about the spiders thing but then again so are my brothers! Regardless of the social cultural shift that has happened post feminism, a lot of the old stereotypes remain and people are still surprised of my fearlessness in general when they get to know me, and often put it down to some sort of unnatural disposition that I must have and be unaware of. This is fine now because I have come to terms with the fact that is the way that the world works, but it is actually very restricting because it leaves me feeling as though I have to pass for normal with regards to my hopes and fears. And there are so many people that I speak to that feel the need to pass for normal when it comes to fear or lack of for any given experience. It is a real shame because other peoples reactions are what we fear more than the actual event and how they will treat us if we reveal our true identities (Batman couldn't exist without the mask).
This is why I think that your social life is overrated. Having to check back with your peer group or in fact any near by human being that what you are doing is acceptable to the wider majority can be an almost cripplingly slow process. How is any one supposed to learn about the world or there own level of comfort within it if they have to go through this rigmarole day in day out. It is frankly ridiculous. To the loners out there this is a lesson that they learned long ago. They have already given up on the checks and balances and enjoy a whole world free from the judging eyes of the masses. It seems to me no coincidence that great genius and leaps of consciousness in the world have more often than not been born of solitude. So perhaps the key to true creativity is to be found on ones own after all. And Now for my final trick! of tying this all in to Design.
Everything that you design is for someone other than yourself to look at and interact with. You have to do a lot of guess work in trying to get to a place where you understand the mind of the viewer. That however is just yet another layer of the people pleasing machine and another step away from experience for experiences sake. Did I mention that your happiness depends on your ability to experience things in the moment? watch this link you'll see what I mean. http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_killingsworth_want_to_be_happier_stay_in_the_moment.html but again I digress. After too long spent figuring out what it is that people like and don't like we sort of stagnate. And that is because we forget one key thing. People change there minds, and they change there minds so frequently that trying to keep up with what people do and do not like is pretty much futile. This is a battle that you will never win. Isn't it funny how the cool kids are usually the ones who don't give a crap whether or not people think what they are doing is cool or not? Not really, it is because they go with the moment and indulge in it regardless of the social consequences. It can be hard as a designer to just go with your gut and tell other people what they should and shouldn't like but all you can do is try. If you don't then you will be yesterdays news faster than you can say wait for me. You did after all get into this business most likely because somebody did something so out there and off the wall that it inspired you right? Well now it is your turn. don't bother asking your friends if what you are doing is right or not just feel it out. If it feels right to you right now then it is!
Oh and now for an apology for what has actually been an epic rant. I just had one of those days today where all of the above was running around my brain at a hundred miles and hour and I thought it best to share the juicy bits with you good people of the internet. Thanks for listening!