Apologies for the absence of last weeks’s post but it has been due to the fact that I have practiced what I have been preaching for a number of postings. In my last post I talked about creativity and this is exactly what I have been immersed in for the last two weeks.
If you have already retired or reduced your working hours as I have done, you may also have enjoyed the luxury of indulging in forgotten pleasures. Having conformed to the constraints and expectations of an institution during the many years of employment, I initially found myself floundering when these constraints were no longer part of my life. I struggled to decide how to divide my time between the many activities I wanted to pursue, not to mention managing the feelings of guilt in doing so.
Although I have developed a portfolio career that includes a number of activities, I no longer have the demands of a full time academic career. I continue to devote a proportion of my time to my passion of working with others on a one-to-one basis as a coach as well as consultancy and academic related activities. However, it does mean I have more leisure time and above all a control over how I want to spend that time.
For the best part of 20 years my time was devoted to reading for academic and research related topics only. I limited the joy of fiction reading to that of a couple of fiction books once a year when on holiday. I now have to start from scratch finding new authors whose books I want to read. Furthermore, I can now write in an unrestricted manner as I do not have to please pedantic reviewers nor chase the challenge of publishing in prestigious journals. However, having conformed to the constraints for so long, it is very difficult to find your own voice.
The same is true of creativity. Other than my foray into fashion designing at the beginning of my career, I have not had the time nor the space to express and explore my love of design. However, I now have the opportunity to rediscover my love for creativity. For the last few weeks I have wallowed in the sheer joy of playing with colours and fabrics whilst decorating my house and dusted the cobwebs off my sewing machine to make curtains.
It was bliss to enjoy these activities without rushing and managing the time constraints of fitting it into holiday time or over the odd weekend. I have also discovered the joy of restoring and painting old furniture, giving them a new lease on life. A whole new area of creativity has been opened to me.
Pleased with my results, it has given me the courage to once again dig out the paints and paintbrushes and rekindle my love of drawing and painting.
Going out into the countryside or beaches which I am privileged to be surrounded by, is not only inspirational from a creativity perspective, but it also allows me to enjoy and appreciate nature and the changing colours of the different seasons. A luxury I have had so little time to enjoy for many years.
As an academic my life has centered around books, computers and lecture theatres and the pleasure of having the time to explore nature has been one of the rewards of having more leisure time. This week I have relished the arrival of the first Spring flowers.
My own experiences of the last few weeks have once again reminded me that there are so many different forms of creativity. It is not restricted to painting pictures or drawing. There is a creativity to suit everyone and taking the time to discover what yours might be is worth the effort.