“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Picasso.
As Lady Boomers our lives have been a linear progression of education, work, babies, minivans, college tuition, and caretaking. There is no question the joy imbued in these stages is irreplaceable. But somewhere in this process it’s easy to lose parts of ourselves. We begin turning beige as color and joy seep away due to endless responsibilities and obligations. What about applying our overdeveloped sense of work ethic to discovering our own colorful spirits? I have just the prescription for curing beigedom….It’s called creativity.
The very word “Creativity”, can be an intimidating word and a misunderstood concept. Everyone can choose to live more creatively. Trying a new recipe can be creative. Getting dressed in the morning can be a creative act. Creativity is really a way of viewing the world. It’s also a way of exercising control over your own life. It’s a way to own your life rather than letting circumstances or other people own you. It’s truly not just about participating in the visual or performing arts, it’s a way of thinking about and approaching your life.
So, if you don’t view yourself as creative per se but recognize some validity in the concept, how do you go about cultivating this quality? My suggestion is..try “exercising your creative muscles”.
As adults we have come to recognize the validity of exercising our bodies. Working out at the Y, power walking, skiing or swimming contributes to our health and wellbeing. (There is even a book entitled, “Younger Next Year” which promotes daily exercise as a ticket to the Fountain of Youth) Further, exercising our minds is a value our society promotes. We take classes, read literature and news magazines, do crossword puzzles or Sudoku. But somehow once we get past the age of ten we generally start paying less attention to our creative muscles. And, just like our physical muscles that fail to be engaged, so can our creative muscles begin to atrophy. The atrophy of our creative muscles is no less significant than the deterioration of our physical muscles.
A personal trainer once told me “muscle is gold”. Developed and strengthened muscle mass supports us, keeps us young and vigorous. No one questions this fact. We live in a very linear society that values physical and mental fitness. (Just because we don’t always spend our time at the gym or reading the classics doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the validity of this advice.
Exercising your creative muscles can be accomplished in a variety of ways, some of which include….
-planting a swath of backyard dirt with a garden filled with colorful flowers or aromatic herbs
-dusting off your guitar or piano keys and taking music lessons
– collaging a few family photographs
-taking a pottery class..clay is a wonderful teacher, it comes from the ground and grounds those who touch it. It’s not just the pots you are shaping but yourself.
-subscribing to Cooking Light and experimenting with new cooking and baking recipes
-the act of dressing can even be a creative expression.
Flexing those creative muscles will definitely make them stronger and more defined.