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On Creating Things

I’m coming to you live while proctoring my last exam of the semester!

Well, I mean, maybe I’m exaggerating here as you won’t be reading this “live,” but it’s always more fun for me to write in the present tense like I’m talking, so that’s what I do. I guess you can say it helps me be more creative. Honestly, I never enjoyed writing until I approached it this way, and, well, here I am, writing.

This year, I have been trying to do more creative things in general. I started painting, fiddling with our new 3D printer, cooking more new-to-me foods, and working on fun menus for dinner parties.

Then I came across this quote, and it stopped me in my tracks:

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve always struggled with labeling myself, so I love how the advice here isn’t to “become an artist” but rather “do creative things.”

I wouldn’t dare call myself an artist, even though I have always drawn or painted in some way. I have my old High School sketchbooks. I’ve taken drawing classes. My mom’s house is still decorated with paintings I created as a teen.

So, I do create art!

When people call me a chef, I always correct them and say I’m just a passionate home cook because I’ve never worked professionally as a chef, nor do I think I could. Yet I host fairly extravagant dinner parties, design menus, cook without recipes, and always make dishes up.

So, I do create tasty food!

This isn’t necessarily “creative-related,” but I still internally cringe when described as an athlete, even though I have taken CrossFit and weightlifting classes for over ten years and recently won a national weightlifting meet.

Is this classic imposter syndrome?

I don’t know. Maybe.

I don’t feel as if I warrant any of these labels, nor do I need them.

I don’t need to be an artist to paint.
I don’t need to be a chef to cook.
I don’t need to be an athlete to compete.

I can just do these things because I enjoy them, which is my current motivation.

Do More of What Makes You Happy

A few years ago, The Husband and I bought that sign on an anniversary trip, and it is proudly displayed in our family room. We’ve both been feeling the squeeze of middle age lately. He’s burnt out after nearly 25 years at the same job. I had to fight to return to the stable teaching position I had before launching my blogs and FitBloggin’.

Now that The College-Kid is off to, well, college and The New-Teen doesn’t need or want us around as much anymore, we’ve freed up some time to do more things that make us happy.

And what is currently making me happy?

Well, I’m glad you asked. 🙂

Watercolor Painting

I have always wanted to dabble with watercolor but never took the leap.

This year, I decided to leap! I asked the Husband to get me a watercolor set for Christmas, and he delivered. I have been having a blast!

Photos of my recent paintings

I also discovered the craft side of Instagram, and OMG, so many amazing people are sharing amazing things online! I have learned so much by following their quick tutorials and found so much inspiration.

Some of my favorites include:

Oh! And I included that last photo of The Husband tinkering with his electronics. That’s his current go-to creative activity, and we’ve been trying to make #hobbieMondays a thing after dinner so we don’t get too wrapped up with work at the beginning of the week.

I’m hoping to get The Husband to do the Paint Your Partner Challenge for a fun in-house date night, but he’s hesitant. I think it would be hilarious!

Cooking, Of Course!

I have always said that cooking is like my palette. I find cooking and cocktail-making incredibly creative, especially because I hate following recipes.

Random photos of recent dishes I’ve cooked

That last photo is an amazing Mushroom Soup I made for our most recent Sommileier Deathmatch.

A Sommelier Deathmatch is a passion project I started with fellow foodie friends. It is the ultimate food creativity for me. I get to focus on a menu, work on recipes, and just have fun cooking.

We’ve had this idea for years, and we finally decided to get more creative by recording and sharing our food and wine selections.

I’ve been working on a simple site to archive the Deathmatches, and it’s up on Google Sites here: SommelierDeathmatch.com

Plus, we drink wine–a LOT of wine, which is evident as we get drunker in our videos.

Case in point, our latest video:

We are still trying to figure out the best way to capture these dinner parties, so the videos aren’t perfect, but they’re fun! I also learned a lot about video editing, which I guess you can say is another creative thing I’ve been getting into.

Other “Creative” Things

We finally splurged and got a 3D printer for Christmas last year.

Husband and Teen watching the 3D Printer

I’ve been learning TinkerCAD and have printed a few practical things (a vase, a taco holder, a paintbrush holder, etc.) We love using it as a family and are still learning how to be creative with it.

I’m also starting to adopt some of The Husband’s electronic hobbies. I see a lot of potential in using breadboards in my classroom to teach programming, so I hope this is something I can explore in the next year or two.

As you can see, I’ve been keeping busy. This semester has been tough, too. I’m looking forward to decompressing a little this summer while I redesign some courses and dive deeper into my hobbies.

Oh! And I have a little container garden going with some herbs and such.

I guess that’s not necessarily creative, but I do love that I can grab some fresh herbs anytime I like!

I’m going to leave you, well, this post, with this quote:

“Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the PROCESS. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless. Just love the work.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

4 replies on “On Creating Things”

So incredibly true!
We moved from Atlanta to Asheville in January, 2020. I had literally lived all my life in Asheville and my husband for 30 years. We quit our jobs and moved thinking we would get new jobs except! whoops! the Pandemic.
It forced us to examine our hobbies (we had none), our drinking (mine is a problem), and we both had to change our work lives.
I’ve never been more surprised than I was at how good I was at a lot of things that I just had no idea I would be. Like Excel. Like learning a whole new language. A new field. New ministries at a new church. New ideas – EVERYWHERE. I’ve pulled back out my paints and to my astonishment, people want to make art with me! And not just little kids.
I’m 60 and I don’t think I’ve been this engaged with myself, my community and my world.

Thank you for sharing your life, Roni. I’ve read you for years and years and probably have commented a handful of times but you have been my inspiration SO. MANY. TIMES.
Take good care,
Sylvia

Thanks for a great post, Roni – I needed the reminder to explore passions and interests. My job is important to me and I feel I do it well, but I am also realizing that there needs to be more to me that waking, working, cooking, laundry, etc… There has to be time for joy and growth. You’ve been inspiring me and making me think for years – thank you!

You are so welcome! I think we all need the reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up of the “musts” and the “shoulds”. I want to do things just because!

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