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My Long-Forgotten Creative Side

Posted Sep 23 2009 11:12pm

For the last couple decades, I’ve been extremely disciplined. The primary reason was work and family: to have the energy and focus required to be effective, I kept strict dietary, exercise and bedtime habits.

Worse, I skipped a lot of “time-consuming frivolities” such as watching TV, playing video games and reading novels. Oh, I read a lot, but most of it was news, work or technically related.

When you factor in the time demands of being a parent – grocery shopping, laundry, homework with the kids – my days and weeks were heavily regimented.

Two Father’s Days ago, my wife bought me a Play Station Portable. To be honest, I became quite obsessive while having a lot of fun. I was a bit amused, because I pretty much walked away from video games 25 years ago.

Then the move from Chicago to Scottsdale came, and I put the game aside for a while. Once we were settled in, I resumed game playing but also went on reading binges and resumed watching some TV, particularly science fiction, via Hulu. I even started a community garden plot.

Once my primary work “ran out,” I really let loose. Well, for me anyway. There was something in me that just said, “try everything, explore, relax, write, shoot photos.”

Ever since, I’ve been meandering. Well, not entirely. I still get the kids ready for school in the morning, pay the bills, apply for jobs, plan vacations, guide homework and art projects, work on freelance projects and clean the house (though not as much as I should.)

But it’s clear that I have been somehow changing and I’m not at all sure where I’ll wind up. Friends and family make suggestions, and I stubbornly ignore them. Then I listen. Then I don’t.

Deep down, I’ve been a bit startled how much I’ve bottled up my creative side and how much it is just begging to come out. I am trying to fix personal flaws. I smile more. I chew my fingernails less. I read and read and read. I teach my kids how to swim and ride bikes.

I know it can’t last. I know I may never get an opportunity like this again. My responsible side recently started screaming, “Make money now.” My creative side is not listening, but sadly, that scream is getting louder and louder.

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