Creativity (or the lack thereof)

I’ve been away for a week or so traveling in Anhui and Hubei and learning about foster projects there.  I’ll be in and out this week, but I wanted to pop in and put some thoughts out about creativity and hobbies.

I have always considered myself a creative person: as little girls my sisters and I would litter the bottom of the Christmas tree with homemade items for mom and dad.  I played the flute since I was four or so, and I dabbled in dance, drama, and other arts.

This week, however, I traveled alongside a man who throws pottery, hunts, and fishes in his spare time, and I found myself envying his robust hobbies and contemplating my own lack thereof as an adult.  I run, I do yoga, I try to practice centering prayer, and I keep this blog, but I guess there’s something I feel like I’m missing when it comes to either practicing an art, making things for others with my own two hands, or finding a passion that connects me to the environment.

On the flip side, I realize that I love what I do: I love doing fieldwork, and doing ministry, and these in many ways are my passions.  I find myself devouring literature on Chinese culture and psychology in my free time, and I genuinely enjoy praying and having spiritual conversations with people.

And yet, I’m thinking that’s not quite enough.  I not only want to have interests apart from my work, but I also realize as I get older and I become more aware that life is short, I’m searching for activities that stretch me intellectually, physically, and spiritually–relaxation and entertainment must be more than magazines, tv, and blog-reading (although I certainly enjoy all of those).  Paradoxically, I’m also longing to return to some of the activities that brought me so much joy as a child: making music, dancing and gymnastics, map-making, drawing, painting, creating, gardening, exploring, and of course, imagining.

My dear friend Jessie and I hiking in upstate NY.

Today I told my husband that I used to love to play in woodwind quintets, and I also loved to make cards for friends and family.  Perhaps these are some hobbies I’ll be able to take up when I get back to the states.  I’d love to move to a place with great mountains where I could hike: I love the feeling of slight soreness at the end of a great day of exploring and exercising.

What did you love to do as a child?  What skill would you want to learn if you had all the time, money, and energy in the world?  And what hobbies do you have today?

Has anyone read this book on creativity?  Sounds interesting.

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2 thoughts on “Creativity (or the lack thereof)

  1. Me? As a child, I loved to color and read and run around outdoors with my friends in a disorganized way (I’ve always been bad at sports) and play board games and make up stories and build things with toy bricks. These days I write and talk and sing and study aikido and read and cook and knit and dabble in drawing. With time and resources to do ANYTHING? I’d do all the things I’m already doing, and also hike and travel a lot, and really put in the time to learn to draw and paint, and tackle sculpture and pottery and serious gardening and raising animals, and run a pay-as-you-can restaurant so people can be sure of a good meal whatever their finances may be. (Obviously, I’d need to be at least three or four people to pull this off!)

    1. Wow, your hobbies are quite developed (I’m jealous!). And your limitless hobbies sound great, too. I also loved toy bricks as a child, and I remember contemplating wanting to be an architect. It seems we need look no further than our childhoods for real inspiration, right?

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