It’s such a shame that breakfast is a finite quantity and experience. One moment I was enjoying an absolutely amazing breakfast sandwich here at La Madeleine this morning, and then it was gone. Why wasn’t I taught that breakfast was finite? Why wasn’t I prepared for the consequences of eating?
Yeah, I’m so not really writing about the finite’ness of breakfast. I’m actually writing about the finite nature of creativity. I’m discovering in myself and my own life that creativity is in fact not in infinite supply. It seems I was raised with the expectation that creativity was a bottomless well, a super power without limits, something to be tapped, mined and spent with abandon. I believe I’ve experienced just the opposite.
I’m not saying that you may not have a creative super power that goes on and on (although I don’t believe you do, hehehe), but my well can run dry. And I’m not just talking about those times of life that are creatively a bit dryer than other times. I have noticed that when I choose to invest my creativity too heavily in one direction and pursuit, I simply don’t have the juices to move in another direction. It’s really disappointing.
I swam a few laps this morning with Google to see what other bloggers and writers might be saying about the finite nature of creativity and discovered a couple of things that border on the profundity of “life lessons,” and they go like this:
1) creativity is in fact not boundless, but something we need to invest and use wisely, and
2) anyone who says your creativity is infinite is selling you something, a product or a service.
What all this means for me is that I must do some reflection and self-analysis periodically in life to make sure I’m not wasting my creativity. I need my creativity in my work and career. I need my creativity in several career related pursuits in my life. I want to be a creative husband and father. If I’m investing my creativity in pursuits and activities that do not channel into these important areas of my life, then I’m going to come up short when I need it the most.
One of the biggest culprits in my life is video gaming. Video games in their various forms can be amazing creative outlets, at least the ones I’ve chosen to play. From Minecraft to World of Warcraft to Second Life, I am invited to create characters, build worlds and fashion whole realities from pure imagination and creativity. All the games I mentioned offer various kinds of rewards for spending my creativity there, and none of them are bad, evil or inherently wrong.
I know, I know… who wants to read a 43 year old man-child blog about spending too much time playing video games? It’s not just video games. I can do this with movies, Netflix and going on a TV binge. I can do this with hobbies and other pursuits in life that do not help me channel my energies and pursuits in the direction I need to be moving or simply a direction that is producing usable returns for my life. This whole finite creativity thing may also have an impact on my tendency to be a “starter” but not always a “finisher” as I change my spending habits midcourse with projects. Maybe it’s the natural outgrowth of an addictive personality.
Today, I’m making some lists. I’m making some lists of unfinished work projects, current hobby activities, upcoming creative needs and unmet life desires, and I’m going to toss those lists into a mixed salad of opportunities for spending my creative reserve, and prayerfully try to make some wise choices. Honestly, I’ve been doing this for a few days now, and am committed to continuing the exercise.
Thankfully, as finite as my reserve of creativity may be, it’s also a replenishing resource. My mistakes aren’t my future and the well that ran dry will run again.