Fuck yeah, I’m an adult! So, stop wasting my time!

I think I’m becoming an adult. I realize that that is an odd thing to say, considering I am 25 and should see myself as an adult already, but I kinda don’t yet. Not that I see myself as a teenager, either… I’m just a “student”: That weird limbo area between education and the real world. In my 25 years of life, I have yet to have a job that completely covers my living expenses. I hope that will come in two years time when I am finally done school.

Physically, I know I have surpassed being an adult and have gone straight to being old. That happened at the ripe old age of 21. A serious hip operation would suck the youth out of anyone, I think. Now I think back fondly to the time when I had flexibility in my right hip, as I painfully exercise and stretch in the hopes of gaining it back.

By “becoming an adult” I mean taking control of my own actions and decisions without needing approval from anyone. There are people in my life who’s opinions and advice mean a lot to me, but I am coming to realize, more and more, that this is my life and I am free to live it how I want. I also take more stock in how I spend my time. Studying minimalism and mindfulness, working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, reading and attempting to follow Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, I’ve realized that they all have the same message: happiness is to spend your time intentionally doing things you love. And I have started to do that, trying to actively ween myself away from digital distractions and push myself to spend time doing things I want to do. And they are all right, I am happier! On the flip-side, however, I find myself more easily irritated when I have to spend my time doing something I don’t want to do, or doing something that wastes my time. Do I want to go out for drinks with people I don’t like? No. That would be a huge waste of my time. Would I get more out of going home and reading a book? Yes. Heck yes.

“I’m an adult. I can do what I want!” I use to ironically yell in a fake temper tantrum. But guess what, ladies and gentlemen… who are my life colleagues now, I guess… I am an adult and I can do what I want. So there! *Blows raspberry*

BABY STEPS TO A MORE CREATIVE LIFE

Last week I wrote about how to live a more creative and fulfilling life. If you’d like to read my recommendations, suggested book list, please check out my post.

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron is always at the top of my list of recommendations. There is no denying that reading this book and completing the 12 week course is a life changing and fruitful endeavour. From my experience, however, it’s a deceptively hard course to complete. I don’t want to dissuade you from trying. Struggle brings growth! I tried to complete the course last year but the timing wasn’t right for me. I wasn’t ready. Don’t beat yourself up if you start and fall off the wagon. You will have learned something just by trying, I guarantee.

If, like me a year ago, you don’t think you are ready to do the full 12 week course, I have developed a “baby-steps” path to a more creative life.

BABY STEPS TO A MORE CREATIVE LIFE

  1. Read the introduction to “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron to learn about Morning Pages
  2. Write your morning pages every day. If you’re not a morning person, they don’t need to be written first thing in the morning as Julia Cameron recommends. In my opinion, when you do them is not as important as the fact that you do them. Morning pages allow you to have deep conversations with yourself. I feel like I’ve only met myself through those three daily pages of writing. Morning pages are a place where you start out by complaining about your day, planning your to-do lists, ranting about what happened yesterday, and worrying about the future… but that sort of stuff can only take up so many words. Around 1.5 pages in, I find that I run out of mundane things to talk about. This is where the real magic starts. This is where you get to talk to the real you and discover what you really want to do, how you want to spend your time, what you’ve been missing, what you’ve always wanted to try, etc. This clarity doesn’t come right away. Oh no! There are definitely days when I’ve written “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write” over and over for a while until I found something else to write. Getting to know yourself is a slow process, but one that will happen through the morning pages.
  3. Commit to doing something you love every day. The morning pages help you discover what you really want to do. My pages revealed that I wanted to get serious about developing my multimedia art skills. I challenged myself to do a drawing every day. I didn’t say it had to be a finished, polished drawing – I just had to put pen to paper and doodle every day. If you have a musical instrument that you’ve been neglecting, challenge yourself to pick it up every day. Want to write a novel? Challenge yourself to write 500 words every day. So many artists say that the key to being a successful artist is showing up and doing the work every day. Ten to thirty minutes of practice will make a big difference, I guarantee. The habit isn’t that hard to pick up, I promise. It might suck for the first week or two as you stress about fitting it into your day, but soon a day without doing it will feel like a day wasted. Stick with it!

Other things I recommend:

Read up on Minimalism. Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of your possessions and living in a sterile black and white room; it’s about simplifying your life so that you can live your life with intention. It’s about surrounding yourself with only what you need and love so that you can live the life you want. Minimalism has many different forms and philosophies, so I recommend reading as many POVs as you can. Some of my favourite minimalists blogs are: Jenny Mustard, Zen Habits, No Sidebar, The Minimalists, and Break the Twitch

Unplug!  This one is hard, but it pays off in spades. Spend some time with no TV, no internet, no books, no music, no news, nothing! If there is one surefire way to force yourself to create something, it’s being bored and being alone with your own thoughts. Challenge yourself to do media deprivation for a day, or a weekend, or a week! Sit, observe the world around you, look out the window, sing the songs that are stuck in your head (and you may only know a few of the words), play with your cat or your dog, take a walk… all of this is good! All of it will get you out of your digital world of distractions, will help you stop comparing yourself to other people and their fabulous facebook lives, and it will plunk you, unapologetically, in the centre of your own life. That is a hard place to be, it turns out, but it is a fertile place. With no distractions, you have no choice but to ask yourself “how do I want to live my life?” If you have sympathetic roommates, or family members, ask them to join you in this challenge. I did it with LB  for a whole week and it really helped to have someone else “suffering” along side me for a week. We encouraged each other to keep going and shared our frustrations and discoveries. It was a powerful week!   

Talk to your friends and family. Ask your parents or siblings about what you loved doing as a child. There may be a favourite toy, hobby or something you always wanted to do as a kid, but may have forgotten about. Is there something you always talk about wanting to do but have never done? Something you talk passionately about? Something you would never dream of doing, though you secretly want to? A club you were a part of in high school or university that you talk about non-stop even though it was years ago? Finding out the impression you leave on the people closest to you through what you say and what you share with them can help you figure out what you should try out, or discover what you’ve been denying yourself. 

If you have your own tips and tricks, things that helped you find a life of creativity, please share them below! If you try out any of the things I recommend, please let me know how they go! You can become the artist you want to be and live a life you love. Good luck! 🙂


Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that I have used myself, enjoyed and benefited from. If you make a purchase through these sites, you’ll be supporting my dream of being an artist and living my life to the fullest, so thank you!

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WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE? How to live a more creative and fulfilling life

Do you want to live your life more creatively? Do you have an artistic hobby but feel that you are just mediocre at it, and therefore have denied the possibility of it ever becoming a career? Are you unhappy with your job, your field of study, or your life in general? Are you not even sure you know what you like to do?

If the answer to any of those questions is “Yes,” my heart goes out to you. This is a tough place to be, and “hopeless, wasted potential” is a horrible feeling to sit with.

I have good news! You have the power to change your life! But how, might you ask? Well, I’m no expert, but I’m trying to answer those questions for myself at the moment and I thought I would share what I’ve learned and tell you what I’ve tried. I’m only at the beginning of my journey, but have already seen improvements to my happiness and sense of fulfilment. Hopefully this post will help you take the first step to realizing the same in your life.

SUGGESTION NUMBER ONE: READ!

I love self help books. I think they’re great. At the start of my journey I spent an hour or two in a bookstore browsing their self-help section and writing down the titles I found interesting. I went home and put them on hold at my local library, because I am broke university student and can’t afford to buy every book that catches my eye. The library is a great place to check out books, risk free! Since placing all of those holds, a new book seems to come in for me to pick up at the library every week! It’s like a free subscription service for books! Amazing!

Blogs are also a great free source of inspiration. I love blogs because they contain stories and advice that come from real people. They often come with updates, so you can see how that person progressed over time. Don’t worry, Google won’t judge you about the questions you ask it. And there is no harm in asking. Just keep a critical eye out in case you come across a website or two making promises that sound too good to be true, or cost money, or suggest radical life changes. Stay safe.

Books I recommend

1. “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron

This is an extensive 12 week course contained in a book. This book will help you discover what it is that really matters to you, and what you want to spend your time doing. I am only half way through, and it has been very helpful. The Artists Way is critically acclaimed, with good reason. While I am not a huge fan of the religious overtones of this book, it is easy to set those elements aside and still receive the help that is contained in these pages.

2. “The Four Agreements” by Don Migeul Ruiz

I read this book in the park on a beautiful pre-summer day. It was poetry to my soul. In just 80 some odd pages, Don Miguel Ruiz teaches you how to take your life back into your own hands by trying to do four things: Be impeccable with your word; don’t take things personally; don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. I am just starting to apply the Four Agreements to my life, and know that they take a lot of work to live by, but I believe that they will bring positive change and growth. This book has been a best seller for ages. Supposedly it was the book that gave Ellen Degeneres the courage to come out and live her life truthfully! Oprah loves it too.

3. “Steal like an Artist” and 4. Show Your Work”  by Austin Kleon

I loved both of these books because they were quick reads that gave tangible, real life examples of things you can do to bring creativity into your life and turn your passions into a career. This blog was totally inspired by “Show Your Work” because Austin taught me that you need to put yourself out there, share what you’re making, because you never know what opportunities may come from it.

5. “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

This book started it all for me. I’m one of those people who needs to clean her room before she can start studying for a test, so environment is a big influence on me. Marie Kondo will help you declutter your life and create your own castle. Your house should be your favourite place on earth! Your room should be a paradise! You probably know already that you own more things than you need. Giving things away is scary, I understand. But I dare you to try it!

SUGGESTION NUMBER TWO: DO!

Now that you’ve read some things to get inspired and you’re motivated to actually get to work, that’s exactly what you need to do… GET TO WORK.

The number one thing I recommend is to set aside10-30 minutes every day to DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE. I believe that the thing that helped me the most was challenging myself to do a drawing every day. I only started this practice back in October 2016, and already I have seen my art skills get exponentially better. Austin Kleon agrees with me: There is power in doing something every day. 

To recap: The way to a creative and more fulfilling life has two steps: READ and DO. 

 

I hope this post inspires you! If you do happen to read any of these books, or have read them in the past, let me know what you thought about them! Have a favourite book about creativity that I missed? Leave it in a comment down below! I’m always looking for book recommendations. And, of course, if this post inspires you to create something, please share it with me. I’d love to see what you made!

Good luck!

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Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that I have used myself, enjoyed and benefited from. If you make a purchase through these sites, you’ll be supporting my dream of being an artist and living my life to the fullest, so thank you!