I attend a playgroup with my four-year-old son every week, and the other mums and I take turns at organizing craft activities for the kids. After the little ones have had a go making a paddle pop stick creation, constructing a photo frame, or pressing their hands into some play-doh, us parents will often giggle at the way we quite enjoy these things too. I love that we give each other permission to ‘have a play’, rather than just leaving it to the kids.
It’s made me wonder what we’ve lost in that stage between childhood and adulthood, in terms of creative freedom. Today I came across this quote from Hugh MacLeod, who wrote Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity…
“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please’.”
I’ve recently been bitten by a creative bug of my own, and am contemplating exploring the dramatic arts a bit further. I love learning about acting, and seeing a performance unfold. In a sense, acting gives me permission to be a kid again – free and uninhibited. Part of me is trying to talk myself out of exploring it because I’m not as young as I used to be – and I have responsibilities. But the other part is saying: ‘But you’re only 34! And you can… So why not?’
We have to give ourselves permission sometimes, to do what might seem irrational or impractical. Creativity is important, and in many ways life-giving.
And I don’t think ‘being creative’ necessarily means giving up your day job. But it’s worth considering.
Finding your outlet might be as simple as unearthing – and reclaiming – that beloved box of crayons, making an amazing meal, putting on your dancing shoes, planting a beautiful garden, or exploring the world around you.
Why not brainstorm ways to carry out what is in your heart to do?…
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
– Vincent Van Gogh.