Creativity is intelligence having fun ~ Albert Einstein
The walls of my office are covered with creations. The artwork that finds its way home from school in my kid’s backpacks is my favorite. I love to see the joy on my kid’s faces when I tell them it’s coming to work with me to be on display. The beaming pride. The humble smiles.
Working in a field that involves critical thinking has meant that I find myself at times forgetting what creativity even feels like. It’s why I love these pieces in a place where my function is to rely on statistics, research, and educated guesses. As a child I LOVED art, drawing, writing, CREATING. I chose a profession that focused on my left brain however and those childhood obsessions became a memory. I watch my daughter now, who is in every way a miniature version of myself, and I’m reminded of the dreams I had as a child. To learn to paint, to write a book, to take photography classes. Why did I leave that behind? Why did I think I had to choose thinking versus creating?
I envy the people who create for a living. The people who design, whether it be a client’s living room or a new software program. The people who exercise their right brain each day. I think there is an advantage to seeing the world as a canvas, to embracing a blank slate instead of being intimidated by it. Our vision – of a blank room, a blank sheet of paper, a roadmap for life – guided not by analytics but by imagination is most beautiful. The incredible thing is, we get to choose the design of our life. I forgot that for a long time and it’s taken my children to remind me.
For so long I was afraid of creating. As a perfectionist, I looked at others constructing their way and admired from afar, but never dreamed of a life by my own design. I followed a path of my own expectations without even really considering what my heart wanted. I knew I loved to help people, and RNs made a reasonable salary and had good opportunity for employment so to nursing school I went. I didn’t have a “normal” college career. I didn’t go out on the weekends because I worked 12-14 hour days when I wasn’t in class or studying. My time was not my time because I didn’t want to graduate with thousands in loans and I didn’t. I certainly don’t regret that, but I do regret not taking the time to discover more during those years. To take an art class, to write for fun, to play.
After graduation, having been with my high school sweetheart for 10 years, marriage was the next conventional step. I moved to a place I never imagined living, four hours from the people I loved so much. I look back to my 20s now and realize I was living someone else’s dream. At no point did I question that. I designed my life around another person and accepted it. I became a mother and advanced my career and squashed my restless creativity because that’s what a good wife/mother does I told myself.
Post divorce, I began to feel something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. My kids would curl up on the couch after settling in for the evening, and I would watch them and wish for a hobby, for something to put my mind at rest. I loved to read and had done that for years, but it wasn’t quieting that voice telling me you need something, I didn’t know what but SOMETHING. I made photo books for my kids, I tried Candy Crush, I started putting puzzles together. Yes puzzles, DO NOT judge, puzzles are not just for old ladies with blue hair and earl gray tea! Sorry grandma, you have the cutest hair and it’s NOT blue.
One night I randomly grabbed a notebook sitting next to me, it was my sons and was filled with drawings of intricate dragons and ninjas. There was a pencil next to it so I started drawing. To be honest I didn’t even know what to draw. I used to sketch but those muscles were weak and there was no memory. So, I did what every mom does when they need a creative birthday party, Halloween treat, or apparently drawing ideas and logged on to my Pinterest account. I was drawn to the sketches of faces and I began to put pencil to paper. I drew face after face after face. It sparked something.
It sparked something huge. It reignited my creative brain which had been on sleep mode for way too many years. It prompted me to start thinking about writing again. It made me look at my career path and my business in a whole new way. It made me want to encourage my kids to never stop creating. To compliment my son more on his amazing drawings and my daughter on the stories she loves to write. It helped me look at my love of reading and shift the types of books I was reading to books that would help me create the life I realized I wanted.
So… here’s the question… what if we looked at each day as our creation? Would you choose to do it differently? We have an opportunity to create each day when our eyes open wide. Our days start as a page, and I am learning my story is written BY ME and FOR ME. I no longer hit the snooze button to put off my creation. I no longer think about getting through the day surviving, but instead I insist on THRIVING through every single moment. I’m a perfectionist remember, and I want my life, my CREATION, to be beautiful and to make me beam with pride and smile humbly. I want to see my life like I see the artwork on my office wall. I want to feel joy with my creation all around me. I don’t want to envy the designers, I want to BE ONE.
To help with your own design process take the quiz below to help you acknowledge what your creative style is and how you can bring it to life!