Imagine you’ve unearthed a time capsule that had been planted deeply into the soil more than fifty years ago, hidden there by a young girl with big dreams.
You lift the capsule up toward the light. You shake it once or twice. Decayed and damaged by its harsh life underground, it cracks open, spilling its contents onto the ground before you.
Sifting through the objects you slowly begin to realize you have a vague relationship with these artifacts.
When the fog of memory fully lifts, you remember that the young girl who had stuffed the capsule with big dreams – was you.
You sit back and breathe deeply into this sublime moment of recollection, “I was a happy, active and expressive girl wanting to wrestle life to the ground. I’m still fascinated by a world full of possibilities.”
Or conversely you might think, “I remember the exquisite feeling of wonderment these objects generated inside of me so many years ago. Where have I hidden that Midas touch of curiosity and passion?”
The answer probably lies somewhere in-between.
Can you sit back in your chair right now, close your eyes and – without overthinking it – on a scale of 1 to 10, rate where your creativity quotient is positioned?
Are you satisfied with the number?
Although science tells us that creativity is highest in youth, it also strongly suggests that we can remain creative throughout our lives.
It’s true that in the uncomplicated days of childhood we are more fluent in the generation of original ideas. Within the dreamy environment of cocooned-learning there lies endless possibility and few boundaries.
Then we age. We inherit the responsibilities conferred upon us by family, work and financial realities. We’re more likely to bow to the pressures of time and the demands of adult life. This is more often than not when the doors to creativity begin to crash shut behind us.
Blessedly, in the years past 60, we are given back the gift of time. The possibility of a creativity renaissance is upon us. As a bonus, we’re in possession of two additional attributes: good judgement and honed decision-making skills.
We’re smarter! We can self-propel creativity toward its best use in our contemporary lives. We no longer have to put things into a capsule for future use.
Don’t focus on problem-solving this – or worse – problem-finding. Focus on reinvention. In other words, cut yourself some slack. Have some fun with rediscovery.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to locate venues for your creative urges. They can be found lying dormant inside the smallest niches of your inner-being, within the walls of your home, inside of your trusted friendships or waiting for expression within the ecosystem of your family.
Start by doing small things differently. Go to a new restaurant. Discover a new cuisine. Rearrange the furniture in your living room. Paint the wall behind your television set in that outrageous accent color you’ve been admiring.
Take a friend to a museum. Reorganize a spice rack, or your closet or your finances. Start a journal with a funny, self-deprecating story about yourself. Anything you do can become a canvas for creativity.
Short on fresh ideas? Log on to StumbleUpon.com, a website that pulls up random pages that comport themselves to your indicated interests. Then have fun clicking on the Stumble button until something uniquely you pops up, suggests a direction or cracks opens the door to your imagination.
Creativity comes in many shapes and sizes. It gets stronger with use. It unlocks the muscle memory of your passions. It’s how we meet the world. Like riding a bicycle, in no time at all you’ll remember what it feels like to have the fresh winds of creativity brushing against your face.
Take a moment to write down three things that sparked your interest as a child. Which of these might serve as a latter-day muse? What’s the one simple thing you can do today to welcome it back?
What would be in your time capsule? Do you agree that life after 60 affords more opportunities to explore creativity? How have you embraced a sense of rediscovery in your life? Please share your thoughts on this – and the things that sparked your interest as a child – in the comments below!