Creativity Reborn

I’m a creative.  But there have been many different times in my life that it seemed that my creativity literally disappeared.  Some of it comes down to depression.  It’s very difficult to get yourself feeling creative when it feels like the whole world is resting on your shoulders.

And, realistically, if you are creative and have a strong need to help other people, often you may find your creative energy bleeding off into doing that.  That energy that goes into birthing any creative endeavor is constantly being drained to come up with ideas to fix things that really should be the responsibility of the other person(s).

In order to be able to access that creativity for yourself, you have to be willing to say “no” once in a while.  You have to be willing to say, “Look, I can advise you on what I think you should do, but I can’t do it for you.”

And particularly for some of us older women (my generation which is Gen X, and some of the end of the baby-boomer generation.  Essentially those born b mid-1960 and the early 1980s), we were taught that part of our job as a woman was to take care of our family, our community, AND still have a career and a creative endeavor (sometimes the last two were the same thing).  This was actually named in the 70s and 80s as the ‘superwoman complex.’

The reality is, no human being can “be it all.” And giving ourselves that expectation has done absolutely nothing to help us be healthy individuals. We were called the “slacker generation” because we grew up during the change-over from a heavily manufacturing and industrial focus to a more service focused economic world.  We saw that the greed and domination in the world was growing, as was technology.  Education quality was slowly sinking into the lowest common denominator.  We saw in our late teens and twenties that the kind of community focus that our elders grew up in was rapidly becoming extinct.  We saw the idol of individuality raised higher and higher.  And most of us saw no reason to kill ourselves in order to succeed.

We took longer to find our “niches” and many of us traded on family and friend networks in order to be “socially acceptable.”  But the expectation of excellence was thrown along the wayside, just like the expectation of having compassion for those less fortunate was.  Oh, yeah, we had Farm Aid, we had Live Aid, we had Hands Across America, we had Comedy Relief (which included Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg – and all three have still been concerned with homelessness).  But it hasn’t been sustained.  If you look at the current financials for Health Care for the Homeless for example (the group to whom Comic Relief’s monies went), their financials are less than $20K in the last few years.  And many of the other charities have grown anemic as well.

Now we’re the ones watching our children face the realities of a changed world.  We lived through the translation of life from mostly “offline” to primarily “online.”  Some of us had only 1 computer for the whole school, while our children now get given their own tablet or a notebook computer for use during the school year. Many of our kids have smart phones (some people giving their kids a smart phone at ages as young as 3!).

We had jobs often during school, sometimes even to help pay for college.  But college in the late 80s and early 90s was 1/4 the cost of college now.  I know this personally, because I went to college during both eras.  Four years of college (without graduation) cost me $25K by the time I dropped out in 1990.  But when I went back to school in 2004 (to get the degree paperwork to prove I knew how to do my job), by the time I graduated I was over $100K in debt.

And the quality of schooling?  I worked my ass off for a 3.5 in the late 80s.  In my classes more recently, I had a 4.0 without working hard at it (until I hit having a depressive episode in 2006-2007 – meaning not only that the quality of my work suffered, but I didn’t always complete the work on time).  I still graduated over a 3.0.  AND I spent a good portion of the time between 2004 and 2008 tutoring the OTHER students (most half my age) in subjects like geometry, sociology, and economics (oh, I tutored HTML and CSS as well, but those were subjects that I didn’t expect the kids to know much about).

OK, this post ended up being a soap box.  Tune in tomorrow for part 2.

Categories: General Contemplation | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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