Lately I’ve been thinking about the nature of creating, about what it means to be “creative”. I think our default thinking is a person who is a great artist, writer, or musician. At least this was my way of thinking for most of my life. And then, depending on how you grew up, your family’s attitudes and vocations, along with what schools you went to, your perception of creativity and the value you assigned to it was further shaped.
I know, as a liberal arts major in college, many of my friends who were in the neighboring business school, would tease me, claiming I was majoring in “arts and crafts”. Apparently, courses in philosophy, gender communication, sociology, and contemporary literature were impractical and whimsical in nature. Maybe, but I enjoyed my classes and I stuck by my belief that my natural interests would steer me in the right direction. Thankfully, my parents supported this as well, forever giving me room to breathe, make mistakes, and redirect. (Now, I will admit a personal finance class would have been beneficial but aside from that, no regrets…)
But what I realize now is that being creative is not singularly assigned to people who excel in “the arts”. Being creative is a part of being human. Creativity is the act of making something. Every day, we are each making SOMETHING. It is one of the most awesomely beautiful and scary things about being human. That we are, in fact, creators of something. Every. Single. Day.
It is beautiful because we could be making really beautiful things- a nourishing meal, a new exciting discovery, or a person smile. We could be making an apology, travel plans, or a really good cup of coffee. We could be making a connection with a friend, a family member, a stranger. It is scary because we could be making something hurtful or harmful to ourselves and/or others. We only need to listen to the news to know this. We can make something big or something small and in both circumstances, we have the opportunity to create something that will nourish or diminish the human spirit. Yes, even the small, seemingly insignificant, things do this. They add up.
Sometimes I think the world would be a lot more interesting if we took time to think about what we can make, rather than what we can do. Imagine how this shift in focus might change our to-do lists. I think it also reminds us of our agency, our ability to create wonderfully beautiful things if we are so willing. Perhaps just noticing is a good place to start.
There were a lot of things I didn’t do today. But who cares. I made a pretty kick-ass warrior pose with my little buddy (who also, much to his delight, got to try his hand at taking pictures with mommy’s phone).
What did you make today?