What do we merit?
What are we
worth–werth (adj.): good or important enough to justify; having a value;
worth–werth (n.): excellence of character or quality; usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for a purpose; value; merit.
The definition of worth sounds positive. We’re describing something good; useful; purposeful.
The definition of worth feeling negative.
Something is either worth it–sufficiently good, enjoyable, or successful–or not. After an event where bad things happen, we ask ourselves, “Was it worth it?” If the answer is yes, we feel our actions were justifiable. If the answer is no, we often feel ashamed.
Worth is a unit of measure. Let’s abbreviate this unit of measure to wh. Whether we like to or not, whether we know it or not, we constantly measure our wh. We measure it by whether or not we are successful at our jobs, have a fancy house and car, and have people to praise us for our success–our wh.
As a bookmaker, I think about the wh of books and the journals I hand bind.
How much should I charge for a journal? How much are people willing to pay? What is it worth?
I have a difficult time setting my prices; setting my wh. Advice from other crafters is to make sure you pay yourself. How long did it take you to make the object? How much did you spend on materials? How labor intensive is the item? These are supposed to help measure the wh of a handmade object.
I struggle with the monetary value because sometimes, worth is not monetary. Sometimes, worth is not a weight. Occasionally, the value of wh is more than a measurement; it’s the feeling of holding a new object in your hand, making something new from something old, and interacting with the materiality of the object.
This is still a type of measurement–wh.
Today, measure your wh by judgment of your successes and failures–decide to measure your worth-werth in something you love. I measure my worth-werth and am surrounded by handmade journals.
Even an imaginary wh makes living worthwhile.