Recently, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with an old friend Kris who, in some ways, has lead a parallel existence. She is a project manager by day and like myself, she managed to find her way to the spinning wheel some time ago. I’ve always known her to be a bit of a “Renaissance man,” so to speak, and a woman of many talents. She has some excellent insights on creativity in tough times.
Another day in quarantine: creativity as a vital component of survival
Recently, I watched “Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You,” which provided a unique perspective on how we should view quarantine. As a fan of sci-fi and science in general, the imagery of being alone together in space resonated with me. I also realized that while I keep some of my spaces separated out, I definitely have room for improvement.
The video covered several points, including creating for work or for personal enjoyment. For me, working from home full-time has its benefits—and its drawbacks. I’m busier now than I’ve ever been—more meetings, longer hours, and bigger projects—and fewer breaks in between. It’s important to remember that moving around—before, during, or after work—is still valid, necessary, and even more beneficial than before. I definitely struggle; it feels like there’s never enough time for the amount of work to be done, especially when home demands are also piled on top of work demands. But. Get out for a walk or ride if you can; if you can’t or don’t feel comfortable, try something indoors like stretches, yoga, and/or bodyweight exercises, to name a few.
Outside of professional creativity, throughout quarantine I’ve found myriad ways to keep busy and keep learning–not the least of which including:
- Renovating our house
- Restoring antique radios
- Repairing a cuckoo clock
- Picking up on Viking wire weaving
- Exploring low-carb cooking and baking
- Learning archery, using a recurve bow
- Making digital art
- Sewing/hand-piecing a quilt top
–on top of the usual spinning, knitting, playing instruments, and so on. Recently I picked up my ukulele for the first time in months. It felt good to simply sit and be, playing something familiar and comforting. My fingers were stiff, my movements far from what they used to be, but it was therapeutic nonetheless.
It was in one of these sessions where I’ve lost hours of time that I realized creativity is vital for my mental health. I’m not the sort of person to commit to one thing and learn to do it well (though I keep telling myself I should); the joy for me comes in learning to do all the things to varying degrees. In some ways that leaves me ultimately to a life of mediocrity. I’ll never specialize. In other ways, though, I value much more the ability to be a generalist and take pride in being able to do a lot of different things.
I need that ability to be able to do whatever catches my fancy, however brief; there’s a joy in tackling new projects that I will always seek.
What keeps you sane right now? What are you not doing that you wish you could?