I am an IDEAS person.
I love coming up with new and exciting ways to do things – in my teaching, in my day to day life. Making changes, being creative, rearranging a room. I am sure there are times when my family and work colleagues wished I was a bit less creative.
I was joking with someone the other day about how boring it would be to just teach the same program over and over. I guess that’s why I like teaching Primary music, as it gives me a lot more creative freedom to develop new programs and new ways of engaging the students. We both laughed that while it does make more work for us, it also makes it much more interesting for us and the students. Don’t get me wrong. I do recycle many lessons and ideas. You couldn’t always be working from scratch. But I throw in a lot of new things too.
When I was growing up, I was always creating – music, plays, craft, drawing, lettering. I’d make Christmas decorations for our family tree. I’d spend hours drawing and decorating my school diary with “meaningful” quotes and pictures. I’d be composing music – writing new songs, singing, playing, dreaming.
I know I have spoken a lot about how I miss having that space and time to just “be” and create – time to just muck around on the guitar and sing whatever words come into your head. But, there seem to be so many distractions now – when the choice between sitting quietly and reading loses out to watching “Bachelor in Paradise” or checking your Instagram feed for the 100th time that day.
While I love technology for so many reasons including the ease of being in contact and also doing things like blogging and sharing ideas and experiences with a wider audience, I feel we are losing the art of stillness and boredom.
And I can muse of the ‘old days’ before computers, but what’s the experience of our kids going to be, who have known nothing different?
That line as educators and parents we say and hear so often – “kids don’t know how to be bored anymore – they need instant success, instant results”.
And look, I’m as guilty as the next mum, who’s child can’t sit quietly for 10mins so I pull out my phone for them to watch the latest Octonausts or Peter Rabbit episode. But I do watch in amazement and with pride when I leave the kids to their own devices and watch as they go from destroying the house and killing each other, to running around playing games of cops and robbers or mum’s and babies with elaborate storylines and twists and turns.
That moment when ‘boredom’ turns into creativity and imagination.
Over Easter we went camping. My girlfriend was apologising to me for there not being much for the kids to do on the property we were staying at. Not much to do? I did not see my kids except at meal times because they were off exploring, playing, riding bikes, having adventures. They were filthy from head to toe but having the time of their lives. It is so good for them to have these experiences.
I really miss my “creative” boring moments. I don’t regret or have ill feelings towards my life and where I am at the moment, but I have come to a point where I am ready to say – this is something I need. I need time. Not away from my family or my friends. But time to be true to who I am and true to what creatively fills me and brings me joy and happiness.
And that is ok.
It is ok to say – you know what? I need this for me and my health and my sanity.
Everything that has gone before this moment in my life is important and has taught me so much and will not be wasted if I decide to try something new. But I am giving myself permission to speak up and make a new path.
Over the last few weeks I have been talking with my husband, family and friends about how I want to follow and deepen this understanding of creativity and innovation. I have been talking with them about little projects I want to do and study I want to undertake.
And, boy, was I really scared about voicing these ideas! The FEAR was so real.
And to my delight and surprise, the response has been so supportive and positive! For the first time in my adult life I feel like I’ve been able to stand up and say – this is what I want, this is why I want it, I need you to know this regardless of what you think.
And guess what? Everyone has thought it is great.
I still feel FEAR – What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m not good enough? What if people don’t like what I have to say? What if I don’t like the path I go down?
But it is more important for me to follow my dream than to live in fear and never know what could have been.