I recently moved to a new apartment and, for unrelated reasons, found myself with a lot more time on my hands. With all the big changes going on, I had high expectations for myself. I was going to play so much music! Get so much writing done! The usual. And then of course I’ve been frustrated with myself that those things haven’t been happening.
It’s a never-ending cycle: expectations, frustration, defeat. Not exactly the most conducive attitude for being creative. I’m trying to be more gentle with myself, give myself space to breathe and grow at the pace I’m going to grow. And that means making room in multiple areas of my life.
Moving gave me an opportunity to get rid of a lot of my possessions. I, like much of America, also read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But I still have more than I need. And after getting rid of so much, I realize how much the remaining items are a psychic drain on me. I’m now going through and parting with even more of my stuff.
This is actually my wallet.
Lesson: Make the space you think you need, and then make a little more.
Living with roommates pushed me to go out more, be active all the time, always flitting between one place and another. At least I could be alone in public, right? At least I could express control over my life by determining my own crazy schedule. Living alone I’m drawn to stay in more, to sit in the quiet. Maybe I wasn’t as active a person as I’d thought. Maybe I was just trying to run away. I love this new life with so much built-in solitude, and when I intentionally choose to make time to be alone, I thrive.
Lesson: Find the quiet you think you need, and then find a little more.
3) Extra F*cks.
I also read the wonderful parody The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck. Things that I do simply out of obligation make me tired, y’all! And then I want to fill my schedule with even more chaos just to take back my life. Obligation without joy is an outsized drain on your energy and creativity, and I urge you to cut that shit out of your life. I’ve let go of a few things I really dislike doing: organizing meetups, hanging with people I don’t like, Facebook friends I don’t care about. I’m still doing things I don’t give a f*ck about, but it’s put those feelings of obligation in stark relief when they do come up.
Lesson: Let go of unwanted obligations, and then let go of a few more.
I can’t just sit down and be creative. I need to frame my life with downtime in order to relax. I have to spend hours at home cooking and reorganizing my sock drawer. I have to clear the to do list from my brain. I need to catch up on my favorite TV shows (it’s Game of Thrones season!) and spend time alone doing nothing. So if I want to spend five hours a week being creative, I probably need ten built-in hours of doing nothing to make those creative hours viable.
Lesson: Make the time you think you need, then make a little more.
Moral of the story: Make room for the things you want to create, and then make a little more.