Do you remember when you were a kid, and you loved to draw and paint, to dress up and put on a play, or to write a little storybook, complete with illustrations?
I watch my five-year-old daughter do all these things with relish and zeal; blissfully free of the confines of self-doubt and criticism. She considers herself an artist, even setting up a little stand outside our house one day to sell her art. “Art for sale!” she called out to passersby, with the confidence of an exhibiter in world-class galleries. (One neighbor generously gave her $5 for one of her paintings).
I remember loving to create when I was a kid. But when I got older, especially after I was married with children and working, creativity seemed more like child’s play than something I should invest my time in. I was focused on productivity, and time I spent away from my family was entirely focused on my career.
Now that I’m a little older and wiser, I’ve realized that taking time to be creative can be very productive. Hanging out in the right side of my brain can give my mind a break, and help me to be more relaxed and energetic for the more practical tasks in life.
I’ve never forgotten this story I read in the book, Time Management from the Inside Out. Author Julie Morgenstern noted that during a season of running her own business and raising a child as a single mom, her schedule was too packed for any time for herself. Dancing was something that had always brought her joy, so to add more balance to her life, she started going swing dancing every Sunday night. She noted:
Believe it or not, adding that one thing totally transformed my life. My energy, speed, and productivity for the rest of the week were catapulted onto another plane. Making room for this fun escape, this balancing element created more time in the rest of the week….Looking forward to Sunday nights gave me energy when dealing with my business and my daughter… I felt satisfied, whole, balanced, and refreshed.
Creative interests can also help improve relationships and provide connection points to meet new friends. If I take the time to write a piece for my blog or read a book to discuss at book club, I feel more energized. This naturally leads to better interactions with my kids and other people throughout the week.
Creative interests also help you meet new people or get to know acquaintances better. Recently I rekindled my love for reading and decided I wanted to discuss books with others too, so I started a book club in my neighborhood. The book club has provided a way for me to get to know more of my neighbors and make new friends. A friend of mine loves to quilt and has used it to bless and connect with others in times of celebrations or heartache. My mom has a garden and gives away fresh produce. My husband loves to cook and share gourmet meals with friends and family around our table.
Creative interests can also provide opportunities to engage more with our kids. I recently started learning to hand-letter, and my daughter is learning to write. Sometimes we will sit down and work on our letters side by side. Involving our kids in our interests gives them new ideas for things they’d like to do in the future.
Jeff Goins from his book The Art of Work said, “Whatever you do to recharge at the end of the day isn’t a diversion. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. It can be the very thing that keeps you healthy and sane. It can even serve to strengthen you as well as rest does. Your taste in music, the kind of books you enjoy, even your favorite foods all contribute to the person you are and the portfolio you’re creating- and therefore, make up your calling. Who knows how your past experiences and current interests might dance together to create something unique and wonderful? Play is how we keep our lives, and our work, interesting.
In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown notes that, “The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.”
I have only recently starting pursuing creative interests, after a break of several years. How did I get started and find some things I love to do? Find out in the next blog post. Subscribe using the box on the left so you don’t miss it!