My wife and I have an ongoing deal - we choose not to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Now, before I get myself in trouble, let me state a disclaimer: I don’t cast any judgment upon those who do. The idea of celebrating love and valuing relationships is a good one, and if you find that Valentine’s Day facilitates these ideals, then I applaud you. Still, Chantel and I struggle with the commercialization and societal pressures that seem to accompany Valentine’s Day each year.
Instead, we celebrate Not-A-Valentine’s Day, wherein I will surprise her with some sort of gift or experience one day and call it her Not-A-Valentine’s Day, and vice versa. This works well for us primarily because it facilitates spontaneity, which we value immensely, and allows our love for each other to be expressed in a special way any day of the year. When we celebrate our love, it is never because such celebration is expected.
To an extent, Thanksgiving bothers me in a similar way. The holiday creates the expectation that all of America pause one Thursday in November to be grateful and offer goodwill to others. I suppose this result is valuable, but wouldn’t a societal expectation of daily goodwill and thankfulness be better than a yearly one?
Perhaps you were expecting this blog post to be themed around Thanksgiving. And I suppose that, in a sense, it has been. Nonetheless, I want to use the remainder of this space to share with you a quote from my grandfather. And in the spirit of Not-A-Valentine’s Day, I pledge to author a blog on thanksgiving some other week of the year.
The following comes from a speech that Ray gave to the U.S. Green Building Council back in 1995, roughly one year after his epiphany. It has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving. It has everything to do with Ray’s vision for what Interface could become, and I’m proud of what the people of Interface have done to move this vision closer to reality. Enjoy, and a happy Thanksgiving to you all!
“If we can get it all right, closed loop recycling, benign energy sourcing, and scrap and emissions elimination – converting our linear processes to cyclical processes – we’ll be sustainable, and never have to take another drop of oil from the earth. We’ll spend the rest of our days harvesting yesteryear’s carpets and other petrochemically derived products, and recycling them into new materials; and (hopefully) converting sunlight into energy; with zero scrap going to the landfill and zero emissions into the ecosystem. That’s the vision.”