I’ve talked before about how creativity—the thirst of our souls for wonder and beauty—is a part of us all. It’s something we were born with; something we connect to in our innermost beings. The magic of imagination is not just the talent of a few, as we sometimes tell ourselves, but in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “[It is] the health of every man.”
Did you get that? Imagination is health. Health. And not just for those people we refer to as “creatives”, but for everyone. Something we often write off as a pastime or a mere hobby is actually critical to our mental wellbeing. And not only that—creativity is absolutely vital to personal development and growth for several reasons. When we neglect to foster it, we don’t mature.
We all grew up with fairytales. Stories such as Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland can probably be found scattered throughout your childhood, and for good reason. There’s just something fantastic about them.
Children everywhere are fascinated by fairytales. They have always been had a high value placed on them in society. Albert Einstein said that if you want your kids to be intelligent, read them fairytales. There’s something about these stories that makes them very special—something that many adults no longer recognize.
Our generation is having difficulty leaving childhood. We readily embrace the Peter Pan-like admonition to “never grow up” without really understanding what that means. Adulthood is a Perilous Realm we Millennials collectively hesitate to enter.
As creative people, we are sometimes even more reluctant to embrace growing up; entering the real world. We’ve believed the lie that doing so will damage our creativity—but what if the opposite is true?
Some days creativity comes easier than others. It’s always nice when the stream is flowing and the words and colors and ideas are coming, but we all know it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes you don’t feel creative. Sometimes, you might even wonder if you’ll ever feel that way again.
When I was in high school, I focused all my spare energy on writing novels. I wrote and wrote and wrote; hundreds of thousands of words. And at first it was easy. But there came a time, shortly after I graduated when I stopped writing almost altogether. It was like the spark of passion I’d had had gone out.
When you hear the word “honor”, what comes to mind? Stories, perhaps: great heroes. The privilege given to people of status? Or maybe just a medieval idea that belongs with knights and creeds and princesses and all that.
The more I look around at our society today, the more I see what honor has become: a lost art. So many of our generation have so little regard for others outside of casual interactions, and this lack of respect—of honor—is blowing holes in our ability to form strong relationships, whether with our partners, friends, or family members.
Words impact us. It’s true. The things people say affect us, whether we show it or not. But what affects us even more are the things we say about ourselves.
Labels mean things. Some we identify with voluntarily, while some are cast on us by other people. Others, we adopt out of hopelessness, discouragement, or desperation. These labels sink deep into our minds and affect how we think, how we act, and what we believe about who we are.
If you’re anything like me, nothing has ever sounded as dull as simply “being normal”. Having a normal job and doing normal things like normal people. It turns you off because, deep down, you know you were made for more than that. You have a purpose, and “normalcy” is your enemy—or is it?
I just want to take a minute to say something that should be pretty obvious, but for some reason isn’t: People are not normal. People are complex, vibrant, mysterious, and deep—sometimes even beyond their own realization. You are one of those people. But unique people like you and I sometimes end up doing “normal things”—and we beat ourselves up for it.