Tuesday, August 30, 2011

the true meaning of unique

Do your Facebook friends like to share their pet peeves about misused words and phrases? Mine do, but I wonder if it's because so many of them are educators. One word that gets misused quite often is "unique." Many people use it to mean "unusual" when it really means "one of a kind." Dictionary.com defines unique as: "existing as the only one or as the sole example; single;solitary in type or characteristics."

Each of my scarves, like each of their owners, is unique. There may be others of the same color, others that do the same job, others that are just as pretty, but none that have the same combination of characteristics and quirks. How comforting that is! In a world where everything is mass produced, it's reassuring to know that uniqueness still exists - that it needn't become a synonym for "unusual."

I'm so accustomed to making things for people I know and thinking about how they will wear them that now I think about the imaginary someday owners of each of my scarves as I make them. I can't help but wonder if they'll love the color or the style or the length or the pattern. I imagine them throwing the scarf on over a simple outfit to feel pulled together or being grateful for the softness as they pull it up over their nose on the coldest February day. I'm so accustomed to making things for people I love that now I can't help but love these strangers, and feel so happy to be making something to make them happy. Every little unique scarf for every little unique someday owner = happiness.

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