I am married to an amazing man who knows me better than anyone on the planet. I live in Boston, a city I adore, and I feel surrounded by people who love and support me, whether right in my own city or halfway across the world. These days when I go looking for inspiration or creativity, I can't afford to travel to some faraway exotic place, and I can't afford to quit my job. And being married is the best part of my life, so why would I compromise that for anything?
If you're in a bad relationship or dead-end soul sucking job, or you hate the place you live, then by all means, make a change. Seriously. Sometimes a change is exactly what you do need. But if you love your partner, your family, your friends, your cat, your job, and your apartment, and the way your life feels in general, don't feel pressured to turn your world completely upside down in the name of finding some more inspiration or embracing your creativity.
Creativity creeps into any crack and corner you let it; even if you don't let it, per say, it will usually show up uninvited anyway--in the dinner you cook, a dress you sew, your kid's science project, the way you wear your hair. Creativity doesn't discriminate between extraordinary, exotic circumstances and the every day.
If throwing everything away in the name of your creativity is trendy right now, why not be a rebel and commit to being an "everyday" artist? Your own story of finding time to paint between PTA meetings, or recording a podcast after work while your supper cooks might not net you fame and notoriety, but it will bring you joy. And peace. Let your own creative joy be enough. Let the privacy of those moments be sufficient. Don't let yourself be pushed into rearranging your entire life because you think you have to. Know what you are willing to give up for your creativity and what you won't let it take. Dare to let your own life, as you recognize it, be the fountain from which new ideas and projects and inspirations springs.
If I had to compose a letter to creativity about the boundaries of our relationship, here's what I would say:
Dear Creativity and Inspiration,
I love you. I treasure all the time that we've spent together--performing, writing plays, blogging, baking, reading, and crafting. You have led me to new places and incredible people who make my life so joyful. Because of you, I have grown my compassion and curiosity. I have you to thank for some of the most beautiful and rewarding moments I've experienced in my 32 years on this earth. Thank you.
I do need to let you know that in addition to the magic we're shared, I do have some rules.
I will not give you my health.
I'm not willing to give you all my extra money, or even all my free time. I will binge on Netflix and cookies and not feel bad that I "should have been making something" instead.
I will not give you my peace of mind or let you question my sense of self-worth or sanity. I will not start wearing all black just to feel like a more "serious" artist or be pressured into dying my hair blue to be perceived as more "interesting".
You will never see me trading my marriage for you, nor my kindhearted and funny and one-of-a-kind group of people that I'm amazed to call my friends and family.
What I can promise is to always be curious about what could be written, acted, or shared with the world. I will always believe in your power to bring people together and transform the problems that seem unsolvable. I will always let myself be surprised and open to new ideas. Which should be said, might in fact negate my prior comment about blue hair or wearing all black.
I will always be in charge of deciding how much of me you get, and I think if we both stick to the rules, this is going to be just swell.
Now it's my turn to ask you. What does YOUR letter to your own creativity say?