For a long time, I had a foreboding sense that would rise up in me in quiet moments, usually as another unremarkable day drew to a close.
It was a question whose answer would always elude me: When will my life begin?
Obviously, the objective facts spoke for themselves. I was living; walking, talking, breathing and keeping busy every day. But there was something missing that left a hole that felt large and important.
An element of me that needed to be brought to life. This curious feeling was persistent and unsettling, and I didn’t have anything in my tool kit to soothe it.
Thankfully I stumbled upon an antidote to the feeling.
It isn’t a one-shot vaccination. Treatment needs to be administered daily but can be taken in almost countless variety.
The antidote for the feeling of ‘waiting for my life to begin’ is creativity.
Creating something from a place of joy and imagination and not obligation and duty takes this feeling away, often replacing it with joy, wonder and plain old fun.
But it would be remiss of me not to mention the disappointment, struggle, and general roller-coaster of emotions that I experience in the ‘creative process’ (a term which conjures up virtuosos musing their master pieces, but which very much also includes newbies and novices).
I was recently in the trough within my creative process, having encountered a project-derailing issue in the final stages. A gut punch. I felt so disappointed, I felt there was only mountain after mountain to climb, never reaching the final summit.
But then I stepped back and noticed everything I was feeling. I was also feeling alive, even as I sat with my disappointment. I marvelled at the feeling of being alive and pushing to create, in my own way.
Even though this particular plan had gone sideways, that empty feeling of ‘waiting for my life to begin’ was nowhere to be found. I felt alive in the struggle to create.
I won’t close this out with a report on how the project ended. Did I find a way through? What did I create? Because we have no guarantee of the outcome when we start to create. We work without a safety net, which is part of the risk and part of the fun. Luckily the antidote is in the process of creating, not the outcome.