Creativity isn’t for a select few. It seems that way, but it isn’t. It is a human skill that for the most part all of us have. It is a different form of logic. It is a way the human mind reasons. It is how we have progressed this far.
I know there are people who claim to not be creative. That is a crazy notion to me. We all are creative, the problem is most of us are subjected to extremely talented people who are creative and we think the two are synonymous. A lot of the time we are lead to believe you must be highly skilled in order to be creative. Those are the examples that are set before us. But the truth is there are people who are highly creative and they must use other people skills to execute on their vision. A playwright doesn’t have to act, she just has to get people who can to preform her story. This doesn’t mean she is not creative. Like most of us she has a focused creative bent that suits humanities need in an auxiliary way.
But there is creativity in every human endeavor. The tragedy is we don’t recognize it. We don’t see it in farming, but it is there. We don’t see it in teaching, but it is there. We don’t see it in leadership, but it is there. We don’t see it in parenting, but it is there. Creativity is how we live, it is what moves us beyond instinct and survival, we literally recreated our environments to suit our needs. Being creative is something we are all capable and can only expand with use.
What most people miss is they can have a creative life. They can do things, experiment, and try with their very lives. You do not have to regulate being creative to work. You can do things that might seem odd to others but for you it fills the mosaic of your life experience. You travel, learn a new language, jump into opportunities, meet new people, learn a complimentary trade, change directions. Sometimes you start over, but in the end you figure out what life would be like if you did things you liked or did something hard that you wanted to accomplish. A creative life isn’t a traditional life based on survival. It is based on expansion. It is seeing what more we could do with this one and only life.
Have you ever heard the advice to write your own obituary? I think about that. I have always thought about that. I don’t like funerals, I don’t like impromptu eulogies, I don’t like poorly written obituaries. The sum of your life is what someone can remember about you in their saddest moment. As I write this I realize that is how most people feel and think about their lives as they live. You could, like a job interview, ask them about their life, about their experiences and they would give you a brief description. Most people don’t think to do the work of reflection on who they are, who they want to be, and who they want to be remembered. All of us will come to an end. When we do the echo of our lives will depend on how big of a sound we made in the lives of others. That echo is what we see at most funerals.
There are two types of personal obituaries you could write. One of the facts: you worked here, there, and over there for years. You had a family, preceded by and survived by, you were loved. Maybe throw in some hobbies and a small personal quark. Or, you could write an obituary of fiction and try to make it come true. The second easily gets confused with a bucket list of things you have like to have done. You see, you could live a small life full of deep relationships and have a few mourners who will greave you every day. Or you could live a gregarious life and those around you would move on in an instant as if a tv character died, it is irrelevant to their actual lives. You could travel the world and try to live an enviable life. You could dream about being a community pillar and someone everyone counted on and loved. You could become a famous actor, singer, dancer, artist and your work would outlive you. The real purpose of writing a personal obituary is to determine what kind of echo you will have. What is the sound you will sing or shout into the universe?
To be clear, I do not want you to live for others approval, I want you to live so that your life is a reflection of you. Our individual lives make up the mosaic that is humanity and the world we live in. To each of us our place in history and moment in time to experience this life. No one can live for us or through us, the journey is ours and the choices we make are ours. Taking the time to think about our death is taking the time to think about how we will live knowing that it could happen at any moment. In this your life is a piece of art, please do not let it collect dust, please do not put it in the throw away pile. Please explain it to us, touch us with your journey, take us on an adventure with you- show us the beauty in a flower, the grandeur of a mountain side, the delight in a life giving steam, tells about the chasm of danger you dare not cross, or the mountain you had to climb. Your life is in your hands. Take a breath and live.
I am going to my Uncle’s funeral today.
The last time I seen him was at his daughter’s funeral a year ago. She died due to COVID-19. She was barely in her thirties. Every time we spoke, he told me I should bring the family down and we could do a barbecue at a park. The truth is I am not close to my family. My mom moved us away from the area and probably saved our lives. Drug addiction is a problem for my mom’s side of the family, it persisted and the area itself is a trap and offers no life outside of trouble. I never knew my biological father or his family, so the only family I knew was on my mom’s side. What I know about my family is they are loving fucked up people, with a great sense of humor, and a whole lot of drama. When my cousin died it broke me. She was young, a mother, and still had a lot of life left to live. My uncle on the other hand was older and looking forward to retirement. It is heartbreaking to lose family. It is also just as sad to never have gotten to know them.
I have siblings, I no longer speak to.
I have siblings that are no longer a part of my life. Difference of opinions, values, and world view have created a chasm that has damaged the relationships beyond salvaging. I have people I call brother and we have no blood relation. We have chosen to be family. We have chosen to be there for each other, we can put most differences aside and enjoy each other’s company. The harsh reality of family is people feel entitled to you, your time, and your emotional state because your family. Because of that, they take you for granted, they dismiss the effect they have on you, and they miss out on you being a friend.
I know that is not all families. Somewhere there are families that get along and the whole time together is a love fest. I have had to spend years trying to teach my children to value the relationships they can have with their siblings, so that they will have a strong bond when they are older. I hope it works. So far we get along, I have young adult children and they aren’t trying to run away from us.
I have to get ready to go. The reality is we are all going to die. What we do, who we do it with, and how many lives we touch matters. Being human is to be in relationship. We are a network each touching each other and making life happen. Our individual lives represent a link in a long chain of lives and events. We each embark on a journey of life and have continual opportunities to change and grow. When we meet someone new this gives us a chance to widen our perspective. It gives us a chance to say yes to life. That person can become an ally in life and genuine mourner when we too pass. And you, you can become the greatest adventure another person meets.
We all die.
At any time for any reason we will all eventually die.
The impetus to live has to be from you.