Never Too Old To Have Fun! – The Value of Creativity

Koolma's First Painting

Koolma’s First Painting

When I was a little girl, I used to love to spend chunks of time coloring in coloring books.

I would take my time and pay attention to all the details, and really try to stay inside the lines (my dad was a huge stickler for details). When I got into high school, I took an art class and started doing some drawing and a little bit of painting. Part of the class experience was to take a field trip to this other school, about 60 miles away, and look at their art exhibit (I don’t specifically remember why that school was selected – perhaps they were known for having a good art department or perhaps they were hosting a showing of students from multiple schools in their area).

It was the very first time that I saw art like that in person. I still remember that there were some pencil portraits that were so amazing because they looked like they could be a photograph. I was extremely impressed. So much so, that I thought, “I want to be able to do that!” and I proceeded to look for the best art university in our state. After locating it, I talked to a couple of my dearest friends, and was so passionate about going there that they agreed they would go there to – the school was about 3 hours from our hometown. This meant we would have to visit there, find housing, etc. We were all really excited.

I decided to take a scouting trip and visit the art department and talk to the people there. When I went, they took me on a tour and told me all the highlights, and showed me examples of award-winning pieces that some of their students had done. They were so proud!

I was horrified…

They were doing practically everything with computer generated software. I didn’t know about that back then. I don’t even remember having any further discussion with them, or asking if there was another section of the department that specialized in drawing. I just remember being so disappointed that I didn’t even want to go there anymore.

And I didn’t. My friends did though, because they had already put down a deposit on a place to live and determine what they were going to be taking for classes, etc. They were really disappointed that I wasn’t going – probably even pissed, but they never got loudly angry with me. However, I didn’t really do that much with them after that; they lived in another city, I just started taking classes at the much larger, but totally local university and getting my general requirements out of the way, while I tried to figure out what I was going to pursue.

I never really got that excited about other coursework, I just ended up majoring in political science, as I worked at a law firm while going to school and thought it sounded interesting to go into law and pursue international relations, but after hearing what an older friend had to say about law school (he was about to graduate at the time) and observing the personalities and egos of the members of the large firm I worked at, I decided I really didn’t want to do that and opted to get a degree in an affiliated field, so that I would not have to start over from square one.

I got married, graduated and then had my first baby – Mami. I had started reading and learning about parenting and decided that I was committed to breastfeeding and simply could not bear the thought of my precious sweetie being taken care of by someone else, day after day, while I worked and made just a little more than enough to pay for the daycare, etc, so I became a stay-at-home-mom.

Over the years, I did a little bit of creative, artsy things here and there, but I was so busy being a mom and wife that I pretty much stopped over the years, aside from being pretty creative at coming up with new healthy food creations for our little family. In fact, I was so busy, I didn’t even really notice that I wasn’t doing much else creatively…

Then I met and fell in love with a musician, songwriter, composer and amazing pianist (after getting a divorce from my first husband, of course : ). He is extremely playful, creative, silly and a total blast to do life’s adventures with, but he kept encouraging me and making suggestions about creative things to do. So we did comedy improv singing classes, marimba classes, dance classes, played with legos, etc. We kept saying we would draw or paint, but only did it a couple times over the last four years. Then recently, after he made more suggestions, I committed that I would do my best to draw or paint everyday for at least 15 minutes.

I have been pretty good about drawing multiple times per week for about a month now, and enjoying it, but saw an artist online that I loved so much I decided I wanted to play more with painting and found a couple simple classes (for kids!) online and started one of them a couple days ago. OMG! I had so much fun and I was so happy to be doing it that it shocked even me!

I am just following the instructions, which is doing a simple painting with acrylics, just like the teacher shows us, but it is really bringing up so much joy that it is surprising and makes me realize that it really feeds my soul. (The painting at the top of this post is my first painting from the course.)

This all got me thinking about creativity and the importance of it in our lives and the power it has to add to our experience of happiness. Who doesn’t want more of that? So I did a little research and am passing on a few tidbits and suggestions – see what you think.

It was stated in one post that the importance of creativity in everyday life is that “it makes life infinitely interesting and fulfilling.” They add that it is “about living life as a journey into seeing and communicating the extra-ordinariness of the simplest, most every day acts.” It is also mentioned that root of the word creativity actually means to grow and that the by-products of creativity are some of the most important creations through time such as the wheel or Mozart’s sonatas, and that people are born creative. That from infancy on we are finding new and innovative ways to “negotiate” or make our way through life and that the more creative people find their way around obstacles because they view them as opportunities as well as challenges.

They also share 15 ideas for cultivating creativity in your day-to-day life:

1. Make your immediate surroundings as beautiful or eccentric as you can. Experiment with your sense of color, texture, and line. Add an element of surprise or quirkiness to your home decor. The unexpected can jolt you out of complacency and into inspiration.

2. Go somewhere new–as close as a restaurant you’ve never tried or as far as China. New places excite the mind and senses and when we are excited our creative abilities soar.

3. Spend 10 minutes a day dreaming out the window.

4. Don’t censor yourself.

5. Do something new or something old in a brand new way. As Picasso said “I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

6. Slow down your perceptions so you savor them–that means eat slowly and taste your food, look closely at the flowers in the garden, spend time writing down and drawing your perceptions.

7. Believe in and follow your ‘What ifs’–what if I was an amazing writer? What if I could make a revolutionary spaceship? What if when I walk across a room it feels like floating?

When we ‘what if’ ourselves, we start to believe we can achieve our dreams. That is the first step to making them come true.

8. Spend 15 minutes looking around with the eyes of a child. Remember that sense of wonderment, love of color, surprise, curiosity and hunger to explore. It can get your creativity going because you are remembering how you were once very imaginative.

9. Take a notebook and pen everywhere you go and jot down your observations. We often have innovative ideas but we forget them if we don’t record them.

10. Don’t over-criticize yourself. At worst it will kill and at best cripple your creative hopes and dreams.

11. Make up a visualization in which you observe yourself imagining and creating effortlessly. Picture yourself loving the process.

12. Just Do It! Creativity is a muscle: use it or lose it. Dance, draw, brainstorm, change your life. The more you use your creativity, the easier it becomes and the better you get at it.

13. Collaborate creatively with like-minded friends–write a journal together, make a quilt, design a new play space, choreograph a dance piece, start a new business.

14. Dress wildly–revel in color and texture. Buy or make a fabulous hat. Don’t be age appropriate.

15. Remember the words of Samuel Becket, on the secret to life-long creativity: “fail, fail again, fail better”!  (Go here to read the full article, entitled “Creativity in Everyday Life.”)

There are also some really good and inspirational videos you can watch on the internet via the Ted Talks sites. They can be located here and here. There is a little overlap of the listings on the two sites, but they refer to  some very good talks on creativity and related topics that are really great for parents and for each of us as creative beings.

Check it all out for your sweeties and for yourself. As for me, I am going to keep painting and drawing…  And more…

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

 

What creative interests or passions do you have?   Have you gone periods of time without doing them and noticed an impact on your life?   Have you noticed some powerful benefit from doing them?

We’d love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other; remember, we are all in this together!

 


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