Wisdom

Creative Outlets Change With You

Even if you don’t think you’re very creative, you probably have a creative outlet. If it isn’t doodling or drawing, it might be movies, reading, watching sunsets, or even painting your nails. There’s art all around us, but not all of it seems … artsy.

But no matter what it is, or how old you are, creative outlets are important. 

As a kid, I was an avid colorer. I was the kind of colorer that would color crayoned page after page of Disney Princesses and My Little Pony — totally inside the lines, of course. And then I’d go wild on a blank page, drawing my family standing next to human-sized flowers or anything else that set my imagination afire.

When coloring books made a comeback a couple of years ago, I grabbed one, a set of coloring pencils, a glass of wine, and went after it. To my surprise, I was completely disinterested. It was pretty tedious and I didn’t even finish one page.

From Coloring Books to Strings of Words

After some deep introspection, I decided I wasn’t in fact dead inside, but my creative outlet had just changed.

Over the years, I slowly fell in love with words. A simple string of words in a poem, a novel, or song, just like a vivid painting, can evoke brilliant emotion. Just like a mural or design that sticks in your mind, or a photograph from a magazine, each of us can remember beautiful lines of text from books, or posters, or even speeches. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have dozens of websites solely dedicated to cataloging famous lines, quotes, or words of inspiration.

Whether your creative outlet is writing poetry, or cooking or baking, each of us has a way to unwind our minds through creativity. And even though it might change over the years, an outlet is always there to help us enjoy this beautiful world.

In honor of words, here’s one of those strings of them that I still remember and think about from time to time. You might know it:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

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