When I was in high school, I sang in chorus, swing choir, musicals, contest, etc. I was also a cheerleader, and our pep rallies, skits and games, were performances in their own right. I think I’ve always needed a creative outlet but it was put on the back burner when the need to get a job and support myself took priority.
No time for creativity for these accountants!
I graduated from college in 1984 with a degree in accounting. (I know, accounting doesn’t exactly conjure up images of creativity.) I worked at Meredith Corporation, a media conglomerate best known as the publisher of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, for over twenty years as a marketer of magazines and books. While I loved my job, I was always in awe of all the talented creative people I worked alongside. I couldn’t help but feel a bit inadequate and very uncreative.
There’s a line from the 1985 movie, Wall Street, that has been tucked away in the back of my mind. It’s not nearly as famous as “Greed is good” but struck a chord with me: Bud Fox, the overly ambitious stock broker played by Charlie Sheen, is talking to his father, Carl Fox, played by his real-life dad, Martin Sheen. Carl, a blue collar airline maintenance foreman, doesn’t like how Bud is making his fortune and believes success is achieved through hard work and providing something of value. He told Bud, “Create instead of living off the buying and selling of others!”
Now while I wasn’t a corporate raider like Gordon Gekko, I did feel kind of bad that I never created anything of value except marketing reports, budgets and strategic plans. I’m not knocking my job. It takes skills to do those things, too, and somebody has to do them or the fabulous magazines and books wouldn’t be produced. This job kept me pretty busy and between it, my husband and two children, I didn’t make time for a creative outlet.
But I can’t blame my non-creativity completely on lack of time. It’s partly because I’m just not good with my hands, and partly because I’m more interested in reading, traveling and exercising in my spare time. Even so, now that I have only one teenage son at home, I have stumbled upon some creative outlets:
Me being creative writing my blog.
1) Writing: I retired from my part-time job at Meredith last year to start my web site, Breaking50.com. I didn’t think of it as a creative outlet but that is certainly what it has become for me. I enjoy writing and creating something tangible I can share with others. It uses a part of my brain that has been dormant for a long while, and it feels good to wake it up!
I helped makeover my family room.
2) Decorating: The other area of interest I have had time to discover is home decorating. I know enough to know I need a lot of guidance from experts but it’s been fun to research different decorating styles online, in stores and in home magazines. I love to be able to see the end result of something I helped to create.
Yoga clears my mind!
3) Yoga: I’m not sure if this counts as creativity but I feel creative when I do yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga a lot lately, and I have been researching the different types of yoga. I’m just getting started but I’m very interested in anything that makes my body look and feel better and brings me peace of mind. Maybe it will make me more refreshed and thus, more creative!
What is your creative outlet?