It took me all of sixteen years to realize that I was one of those “creative” types.
As I’d spent my entire childhood drawing and building things, you’d think I’d have caught on much sooner. But my early years held no artistic reference points, and there was certainly no outward acknowledgment that what I did was worthy of attention. I just did what I did while quietly despairing at the mind-numbing torment of normal school.
My focus in secondary school was very uneven. Classroom activities held little appeal, and I’d often drift off into some reverie and lose track of what was going on around me. Or I’d fritter away the time drawing in the margins of my text books, finding infinitely more meaning in my doodles than in the threat of looming exams.
Of course such an approach set me up for a host of rude shocks. At the time it seemed that both teachers and fellow students were taking enormous pleasure in finding ways to burst my fantasy bubbles. But really, how could I have expected anything else? An all-boys school located in an industrial suburb has little time for unbridled imagination or mystical contemplation.
Not surprisingly, my grades were never stellar. But thinking back now on how little time I spent mentally engaged in those classes, it’s a wonder that I managed to pass each year. While I’d naturally tune into and absorb whatever caught my interest, I’d quickly dismiss whatever didn’t. And there was lots of the latter.
During my entire time attending secondary school I never studied outside the classroom. With little to no parental direction or supervision, it never occurred to me that homework was an option. Instead I lived to escape into my imagination. Outside school hours I’d tinker about on some construction, make fantasy worlds out of my father’s plumbing junk in the backyard, or find a cozy corner in which to read and draw.
Yet as wretched as those school days were, they never did manage to squelch my desire to create. In fact I’d say it was my daily disconnect from that brutish reality, plus my obsession with drawing and tinkering, that kept me sane.
And the telling point, I think, is that only a year after the realization that I was a creative, I entered college as a full time art student.
Since then, no matter what challenge life throws my way, I find strength in the memory of that teenage realization. The truth is that when creativity is given the freedom to have its way with you, unplanned benefits and blessings inevitably find their way into your life.
Below I’ve listed a few of creativity’s hidden benefits.
- Increased life satisfaction
- Enhanced sense of well-being
- Natural and spontaneous personal growth
- An ever expanding flow of insights and understanding
- Greater problem solving abilities
- Bubbling joy for no reason at all
- Sharper and more focused attention
- Growing delight in the surrounding world
- Clarity of thoughts and feelings
- Heightened abilities to detect order in chaos