SOCIAL MEDIA

26 January 2016

A Return to Creativity

As 2016 dawned, I determined that I wanted creativity to characterize my year. I know that goals are supposed to be "SMART," and declaring that you simply want to live more creatively is probably the direct opposite of a "smart" goal. But it's what my heart desires.

The past two years have been much more about simple survival than the added bonus of creativity. They've been very, very good years--some of the most joy-filled years of my life, ones that I'll always treasure in memory, but there wasn't a lot of room for luxuries like creative expression.

A photo posted by Rachel G (@randomlyrachels) on

For the first half of 2014, we were figuring out what country we were moving to, applying to jobs, filing paperwork, systematically giving away and selling all of our possessions and living in a nearly empty home. For the second half of 2014, we were living in a hotel (for nearly a month) and then in a small-yet-efficient dingy apartment in a neighborhood in ShenZhen--speaking Mandarin everyday and falling in love with teaching and the new world around us. Living in China was, to some extent, living in the constant state of feeling, "Well, I literally have no idea what's going to happen next, so I'm just not going to worry about it." Get interviewed for television? Be asked to dance in front of 3,000 people? Go on a 20 km hike without any warning/preparation? Perform a dramatic reading in the school talent competition? Check, check, check, check. 'Twas an amazing adventure.

When we moved again in 2015, that brought another empty house and another round of paperwork to wait on, and a busy life adjusting to Angel's new and much more challenging workload. In China, we saved every bit of our income that we could because we knew we'd soon be facing a pay cut and the necessity of setting up house again--a decision that served us well during our early months in Malaysia, as we were able to buy a vehicle and needed appliances and furniture. 2015 was a year of acting like real adults as we made big purchases and found new habits and new roles in the community that forms our third home.



I've long been the kind of person who has a few artistic endeavors stewing somewhere in the background. My parents are engineers, not artists, so they found me somewhat of an enigma, but still faithfully encouraged me in smaller or larger ways: bought me paints, taught me embroidery stitches, let me join a theater club.

Leaving America, packing up my life into 2 suitcases meant getting rid of all the tools of my trades--the beloved sewing machine I bought myself as a college graduation present, the paints and brushes, the pliers and papers and string and scraps of fabric. Of any 'stuff' we had, that was probably the hardest to say goodbye to. Since moving, I've contented myself with the creative expression that is blogging and digital writing--the creative hobby that is most easily transported. All I need is access to a laptop and the internet, and I can write and create all I want!

But in 2016, I crave a little more than that. It's always hard to predict which way life is going, but it appears to be settling down somewhat once more, and I want to feel free-er to invest in the kinds of supplies that I love being creative with again, and I want to learn new and more versatile creative skills.

A photo posted by Rachel G (@randomlyrachels) on

I'm excited to spend this year looking for ways to be creative in my everyday life--in ways that end up brightening both my own days and those of others. I think I'm off to a good start. For Christmas, I asked for and received a coloring book and pencils, along with embroidery thread and cross-stitch fabric, so I've started out with coloring and embroidery for two of those 'easy' creative endeavors that can be accomplished while watching an evening movie with Angel. I hope to find myself a sewing machine one of these days.

The Youtube channel is another potential avenue I've opened up for creative expression, and when it comes to work, I'm dedicated to writing my lesson plans and executing preschool in a creative way--one that I actually enjoy and one that will hopefully have great benefits for those learning. I'm adding different vegetables into my usual recipes. I'm wearing mismatching earrings. I'm painting my nails again. I'm no longer letting the need for the housework to be done and the budget to be balanced and the confusing bills to be paid trump my need to be creative. Because even though I occasionally forget it, it's perfectly possible to do both; I can, if I only remember that I have the ability, accomplish the hum-drum tasks of life in a unique and colorful way.

What are some of your favorite ways to express creativity? What tools or resources do you find most helpful in encouraging you to choose to be creative rather than choosing the shortest route from point A to point B?

17 comments :

  1. This is so good to hear! I'm not the only one whose creative interests are always in flux depending on space, business, etc...I always feel guilty when they fall by the wayside, but it's really hard to want to draw or sew when you live in a tiny space. Not that it's impossible. Studio space or a big sectional couch and *time* make it a whole lot easier...

    I'm sure moving internationally just fills the brain with a whole whirlwind of other mental occupations, though. I can't imagine what the influx of cultural changes and language learning does to the mind!

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  2. Oh my word I love this! I am just now entering a season of life where I can be creative again. And I love it! It's been so long! In fact it almost feels like the time has created a creative block of sorts. But I'll push through! And I can not wait to see what this year brings for you!

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  3. Creativity is so important. Mine has gone down the drain in the last few years. I think that having it right in front of us (i.e. like that coloring book!) is a step in the right direction. Maybe pencil it into your busy schedule so you can't ignore the chance to be creative?

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  4. I totally get the sorrow of leaving behind "the tools of the trades" at least temporarily. When I went to an out-of-state college (not nearly as dramatic as leaving the country, though) I didn't take much with me, and I ended up going a little stir crazy at times. After subsequent trips home, I had to bring back my spindles, knitting needles, and part of my yarn supply, because I needed to express myself! Now that we're settled in our post-college home, it's been good to continue creatively jumping into knitting, crocheting,and spinning. I really miss the sewing machine (I haven't used one in quite a while), but I finally caved and started sewing different things by hand, just because I missed sewing! Anything fiber-related is my main creative outlet, aside from writing.

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  5. What a timely post! I spent part of the day sketching, which I haven't done in AGES. Yes, I do illustration work on the computer with a tablet every few weeks, but it isn't the same as traditional methods. I quite enjoyed the sketching. Tomorrow I plan on picking up my watercolours, I hope I didn't forget how to use them!

    I agree it is so important to take some time to let your creative soul speak.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  6. As someone with less than 0% creativity, I've always admired those who are creative. I could image there'd be nothing better than settling down and creating something, how mind clearing. :)

    Christie's Take on Life. x

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  7. I love making things. I draw (but ain't no artist) and I do a lot of DIY (pretty things). It's an outlet and makes me unwind. Even blogging allows me to be creative. great post.
    Joanna

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  8. I haven't been able to make as much time for creativity recently either, but that's one thing I want to focus my year around too.

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  9. Go you! I think it's hard to make a measurable goal about creativity (isn't that the opposite of creative?) so I think you are fine.

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  10. Woo for creativity!! I got a lot of coloring books for Christmas, as well. I've been trying to hone in my creativity more as well. :)

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  11. What an inspiring post! I recently just told a friend that I feel more inspired and creative than ever. Now that I bought my first "real " camera, I've been having a blast trying to learn photography and incorporating these photos in my blog! I've cut back on sponsored posts and am blogging more for ME than others. I love this Rachel! Also, I am very jealous of your adventurous life! What an inspiration you are. You are so interesting!

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  12. I love the idea of being creative in daily life. I love being creative but somehow I got it ingrained in my head that I need a big chunk of time to really let the creative juices flow. A full afternoon to sit down and scrapbook, a full hour to finish colouring an intricate picture. The end result is that when life is busy I can go days without really doing anything creative. I need to be better about spending those little pieces of time doing something creative instead of catching up on Twitter.

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  13. My favorite way to express creativity is working on my photography

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  14. I love this, Rachel! I understand how one has to set out and consciously make time for creativity, else all the tedious tasks in life (like paying' the bills) get in the way. My creative outlets are painting, art journaling and jewelry making.

    I look forward to seeing your creations this year! :)

    -Shelly

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  15. Oh man, leaving all that behind would be TOUGH! Especially have to sell things that you felt near and dear to (like your sewing machine). I get creative through blogging (of course), writing notes to my husband in a book we have, coloring in the grown-up coloring book I got for Christmas, knitting/crocheting, and drawing or handlettering. You take a lot of photos - that definitely counts as a creative hobby!

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  16. Being creative and artistic can be so much fun. I really need to invest in an adult coloring books.

    All the Best,
    Allison | www.LiveLifeWellBlog.com

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  17. i love the new adult colouring books, i need to get one because that is such a great idea. i do have a sewing machine, though i'm not very good. i am trying though, so maybe one day!

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