So, here I am, a 24 y/o female living it up in my very own apartment with my very own life establishing myself as a new occupational therapist (or should we just say consumer for lack of a better grown-up term). Why does this not feel like the most exciting time in my 24 years? Why does this actually feel like the least exciting of my times? What in the world could possibly be more exciting than working, paying more bills and starting to pay off the dreaded student loans (hehe)?
I started reading an amazing book called Big Magic:creative living beyond fearby Elizabeth Gilbert (y’all should go purchase this ASAP BTW). I’ve actually had this book sitting on my bookshelf untouched for close to 5 months. Sitting there waiting for “the right time”. I seem to have a knack for opening unopened books and having an “ah-ha!” moment only pages in. Rewinding to moments before choosing this book. Feelings of UN-fulfillment started to take over. I needed answers; what the heck was going on with me? From a passionate, excited, creative and innovative OT student to a real-life BLAH.
The title of the book truly did call to me one day. I was happy to find that it slid right to the very core of my unanswered questions about this funk I was going through. The book is about garnishing, cultivating and sharing your creativity with yourself and the world, however or whatever that may be. What piques your interest? What gives you joy? When is the last time you pursued an IDEA? We all have ideas. Silly ones, extravagant ones, and yes unreasonable ones too. But how used to ‘pushing ideas to the side’ have we become as a society? Is this just part of Western culture now? Ideas are only for inventors, students and researchers? GO, GO, GO! Don’t slow down! Speed right along, work overtime and consume, consume, CONSUME! Well then how the heck are WE supposed to be living our lives to the fullest if we’re living the same lives as one another?
I started to ask myself. Why not become a yogini? Does it really matter how good I am? If I fail, wouldn’t I be happier than I would be thinking “what if” for the rest of my life? “What IF” I actually pursued that THING that really interests me without worrying if I’ll be any good at it? Why not get into writing poetry and blogging? Who cares if no one reads or likes it. It is scary putting creativity out there for all to see, though. Whether it be in the form of words, pictures, sport, song, dance, programming, or ideas at work or school. What if it’s rejected? “What if I fail? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?”-Erin Hanson. In all seriousness though. But what if you fly?
In order to grow, we need to expand our comfort zones. And I can’t imagine being happy and feeling fulfilled without growing. We need to be okay with taking risks. Taking the risk of losing something/someone or “failing”. The risk could be getting laughed at by your entire cohort or room of colleagues because your idea wasn’t *~kEwL~* enough. The risk could be posting a long blog post about taking risks only to go unnoticed (AHEM). The risk could be as serious as potentially losing your job if your idea doesn’t work as you had imagined. The risk could be posting a picture of your art-form on instagram and it getting 1 like. From your mom. Okay, so we all have those types of fears in some way, shape or form. So ask yourself: is accepting that risk of failure scarier than accepting the possibility of flying? Sometimes the possibilities of what may develop may ACTUALLY be the scariest of all. But at least this type of scary is exciting.
Once I started convincing myself that I needed to start saying yes to my ideas, I started feeling this overpowering energy. Excitement about the mundane. Inspiration. I started to even feel more creative in my work; like my energy was pouring into my patients’ lives. You see, you start to feel obsessed with the feeling of being constantly inspired by what you MAY have inside of you to share. You LOVE the feeling and it starts to seep into your everyday life. It’s consuming; like falling in love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suddenly the happiest woman on the planet but I am happiER. And I have myself to thank. Because life is too short to hold your gems inside of you hidden, maybe even hidden from yourself. It’s worth exploring what MAY be deep inside of you because even if it doesn’t change the lives of everyone you know, it could change your life. And isn’t that enough?
Deciding to live life by the books is absolutely the easiest way through this life. But if WE don’t take the risks to share uniqueness with this world, with each other and if WE don’t take risks to fail and risks to fly, what a boring booooorriinngg world this would be. You may never know the impact you have on the lives of others that you didn’t even realize were watching. Let’s continue to asks ourselves: are we the most creative WE that we can be?
Thank you and have an inspired and creative week,
Ariana Gonzalez, OTR/L