Staying Creatively Inspired While Easing into Adulthood
I need to start looking at creativity as a tool, a way to improve other tasks in my life. One of my first “dream jobs” when I was little was to be a painter. Then, when I was a pre-teen, I dreamed of being a fashion designer. Imagine that. Once I settled on a “real” career path, I thought those adolescent dreams were nonsense. We often forget about them., We think, “I was just a child, I had no concept of the real world.” No? What makes young people less equipped to understand their deepest desires and passions/ I really do believe we should listen and honor our inner child — their thoughts and ideas were not naive, just raw. I love to paint. So I’ll be a painter. Makes sense, right?
One of my favorite stories my dad share with me about his childhood, was when he was in elementary school and everyone was asked to share what they wanted to be when they grow up. When it came to his turn, he confidently stood up and said, “When I grow up, I want to be an eagle.” The whole class burst into laughter, thinking he was kidding. and his teacher calmly explained to him that this was not a appropriate answer, because it wasn’t a plausible option. But my dad was completely serious — he aspired to be an eagle. He liked how they were free, adventurous, protective and wise.
My father at the time didn’t know at the time that much later in his life he would become a Lieutenant and later a Colonel for the U.S. Army. And as part of the swearing in ceremony, his superior would put on his uniform a pin that represented the U.S. Military — an eagle agains an American flag.
I think my dad told me this story because he wanted me to remember that our inner child’s dreams should not be ignored or tossed aside. We may not become the exact version of ourselves we imagined when we were young, but parts of it will still stay with us and reinforce our goals in the future.
I am not a painter. But I enjoy painting a picture with words — whether it’s through personal essays, my blog, or placing quotes ever so perfectly in between sentences in a reported article for work. I am not a fashion designer but getting dressed every day, for me, is like creating an original outfit and telling a story with it.
So I’m trying to listen to my inner child more — honor her, breathe creativity an inspiration from her and allow her to live within me still.
Getting inspired and staying inspired are two very different things. A spur of inspiration can come out of nowhere, and often if you don’t act on it, nothing will come of it because in the next moment, you might have to be doing something else. I’ve been very much looking into the line I’m balancing on as a 20-something person right now — finding the perfect medium between doing what I love and making a living. And this is the age when it really begins. The biggest wake up call? Finances are a biggie — I’m entering the stage of my life where I have to bring in the bacon myself, and more than that, having to make sure I budget correctly.
And of course there’s so many responsibilities popping up relating to health, money management and other housekeeping things that come with growing up. So adulthood definitely brings on a lot of routine and time management; you have to make sure you’re portioning your time for the necessities, rather than the things you do just for fun. Because of this, combined with the overall shock and adjustment of begin out of college and chaotically job searching, my inspiration and creativity tends to feel stunted at times.
After an impromptu trip to Target with me, my friend Grace the other day tweeted that “getting excited about buying pillows and lamps” is a sure sign you’re becoming a real adult. That’s certainly true, and I have no shame at all! However, it’s interesting to really reflect on the realization that damn, I’m growing up! I remember as a kid thinking, “What am I going to wish for during Christmas as an adult? Aren’t I always going to want the new Bratz doll or a princess dress to dance around in at home?.”
When it comes to staying creatively inspired, I know that as my life becomes cluttered with more adult responsibilities, I have to try harder to stay inspired and remember what I really love and why I do what I love. Because I know in the long run it will help me stay emotionally nourished and be better at my job.
So here’s random assortment of items — physical or abstract — that are fueling my inspiration lately. As well as the ways I urge you to find different ways to find inspiration in your life when you’re feeling a little blah from all the weight of reality and adulthood.
| read Old Books & Other People’s Diaries |
Imagine that, the one thing that has finally gotten me motivated to start journaling is reading other people’s journals. You heard it here first. But really, even if it’s a memoir of collection of letters from a famous author or writer, it’s really fascinating to read them. Right now I’m reading an old copy of “Revelations: Diaries of Women” as well as continuing my ginormous copy of “The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath.”
There’s something extremely vulnerable and exciting about reading someone’s diaries, whether they’re edited or not — it still shows some kind of process that the person was going through, day by day. It’s very raw and inspiring, and it encouraged me to continue my daily journaling (fun fact: the intro of this blog post is actually from a journal entry.
| craft your SOCIAL FEEDS |
So, we could talk about Instagram/Social Media FOMO for days, and I think I’m going to definitely dive deeper into that in another blog post because it’s basically something inserted into our DNA at this point. But for now, I’m just going to share some accounts that have really been inspiring me lately. Usually for the inspiration section of these pots, I just show off a specific website, blogger or stylist I’ve been following. But for this one I think I’m going to share my top 3 Instagram accounts that have been inspiring me lately.
Since I basically consume most of my content via IG, it was getting a little overwhelming when I realized I wasn’t seeing all the pages I really want to be seeing. So I went through a little purge where I unfollowed a lot of accounts that were clogging up my feed (mostly brands I didn’t care for and pages I’ve been following since like sophomore year of high school…"). I also followed a couple new pages that have become some all time favorites. I’ll eventually do a more longform Follow Friday type post, but here’s a quick list of the ones giving my a lot of creative inspiration lately.
DESIGN / WORDS:
| CONNECT irl |
WITH that being said, as much as I’m a social media lover, I still believe that meeting and connecting people face to face is a completely different experience, and can be just the dose of inspiration you need, especially if you’re feeling digital burnout. This past week I went to not one but two meet-ups/networking events, which I feel like is a very adult thing to do, but also something that forced me to go out of my homebody comfort zone.
Something that a lot of other women I met up with this week related to me on was how hard it can be to connect with new people and stay social during this time of our lives. A lot of us are starting new chapters of our lives, which often comes form having to strip away a previous part that we were used to — whether it was 4 years at school, a relationship, a career or job, a home we’ve been used to, etc. This time of transition often means that our social circles are going through some severe shifts.
| LISTEN TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF’S PASSIONS |
Lasty — and the most obvious one that ties in with this blog post’s intro — the other way I keep my inspirational / creative juices flowing is just to do the things I enjoy, even if it’s for a second. Whether it’s going out taking some photos, styling an outfit for a photoshoot, doodling a little bit in my journal or on my iPad — doing these things is not a waste of time. It is our inner child talking to us and urging us to enjoy the things we truly love, and then turn them into something viable, brilliant and great.
Capturing moments and simply creating for no other reason than to create is something that builds your creative intelligence, gets the juices flowing and overall makes you more confident in what you’re doing. I remember when I wrote my first article to be published for my college magazine, The Vindicator, I had zero experience in journalism or professional writing or interviewing. But I was so excited and sparked with passion about creating this story and just doing it — I didn’t care.
I displayed more confidence and self-assurance as a 19-year old college student with no journalism experience, than I sometimes I do now as a full time freelancer in the field. Another reason to listen to your younger self — and to trust them and their confidence.