Wow, it has been a long time since I’ve posted on here. I’ve been so caught up with life that I felt too busy to write. I started this blog as kind of a replacement for Facebook, a place where I could share my thoughts without the feelings of inadequacy and competitiveness I got from Facebook (you can read my post on that subject here). I’ve been off Facebook over a year now, and I have no regrets. My husband has recently become a lot more active on his blog, writing about all the projects he’s working on, and I found myself wishing I could do the same. With everything that’s been going on in my life, I never felt like I had the time. In the past several months we got a puppy, I started taking classes for a Web Design certificate, we’ve done a bunch of home projects, and our older cat passed away. I’ve wanted to write about all these things, but where my free time was taken up by cleaning and house work, it’s now been replaced with caring for our puppy and school work. I’ve also been fighting to get more hours at my job. All the while, I keep wishing I had time and energy for creative outlets like writing. I keep waiting for some free time where I can sit down and write, but it never seems to come.
The past week or so, I’ve been listening to an Oprah podcast called “Super Soul Conversations.” Oprah is the best, don’t judge me! If you haven’t heard of it, I recommend checking it out. Anyway, it’s made me realize that I need to MAKE time for myself to be creative. Seems obvious, right? It’s not as easy as it sounds. There are times, like when I get home from work, when I don’t have the energy to do anything and I just want to watch YouTube or read. But when I do have energy and I get some free time, I feel like I have to fill it with something “useful.” That means cleaning or school work or running errands. When those things need to be done, and they ALWAYS do, I feel guilty for taking time to do something fun and not “useful.” But what I’ve realized, with Oprah’s help, is that being creative and doing something fun for myself is just as useful as anything else. As she said in one podcast, “unused creative energy is not benign.” That means if you don’t give yourself a creative outlet, that unused energy creates problems in your life. When I heard that, I immediately recognized it in my life.
In our American society, we glorify being useful. We only get permission to be creative if we do it professionally (artist, graphic designer, writer, etc). If we don’t do it professionally, we still need to monetize it somehow (sell your handmade whatever on Etsy, make money from your blog, create a social media following, etc). In order to do those things, you already have to be really good. That’s so much pressure! What if nobody likes your work? What if no one buys it? Why even bother?
A few days ago, I overheard a conversation between two of my coworkers, both in their mid-thirties. They both have kids and were lamenting that they didn’t have time to pursue their dreams. One works in finance, and he was sad that he couldn’t be creative at work. He had always wanted to be a children’s book illustrator, but didn’t know where to start. The other, who is a graphic designer, was sad that she no longer wanted to do art in her free time, because she does it every day for work. Hearing this really struck a nerve for me, because I have the same frustrations. Do I really want to feel the same way 10 years from now?
I’m a perfectionist, so I’m trying not to have expectations for myself that are too high. After all, hardly anyone has their whole life figured out by their twenties. But I still want to make time for myself to find a reliable creative outlet, because it’s not going to happen by itself. Whether it’s writing, drawing, making stuff, or all of the above. What about you? How do you make time to be creative?