1. The Pace
Drag to the kitchen. Pour the coffee. Wake the kids.
Stop that jabbering and eat your breakfast! Make your lunch! Brush your hair, for Pete’s sake!
The carpool, the drop, the hustle to beat the clock. Push the papers. Please the boss. Check the list. Microwave supper and scarf it down.
Stop that jabbering and eat your dinner! Gymnastics, basketball, karate, whatever is in thirty minutes!
Peddle down. Sit in the bleachers. Make pleasantries with the other parents. Slog through the bedtime routine, the endless cups of water, the infinite one-last-kisses. Find the bed, the recliner, the couch, whatever. Fall to veg.
What’s on Netflix?
2. The Problem
It’s a cultural rhythm, one with which so many of us are acquainted. The breakneck pace of activity–isn’t it all-consuming?
Yesterday, we spoke about consumption, and I made a working hypothesis, which is as follows: over-consumption kills the creative drive. And isn’t our anxious pace emblematic of over-consumption? Don’t we all try to suck the marrow out of every day, out of the endless opportunities? Are we told we should parent, work, and carpool our kids to every activity? If we do, what energy is left to create? How can we nurture creative thinking when every spare minute of thinking-time is consumed? Perhaps this kind of over-consumption is why American creativity scores are falling.
Consume; consume; consume–is this the thing that’s doing us in?
3. The Practice
Let’s not stop at the point of problem identification. Let’s take it a step farther. How can we break this endless energy suck? How can we incorporate spaces of quiet creativity?
For the next five days, carve out twenty minutes of uninterrupted quiet time. You might need to wake up early, or incorporate it into your lunch hour. Perhaps you’ll sit in the car during your child’s evening activity. Could you reserve twenty minutes at the end of the day, just before you scroll through your Netflix options? However you do it, make it your first priority to carve out twenty minutes of quiet, creative space.
What should you do with that space? I suppose that’s up to you. You might journal, or doodle, or brainstorm solutions to problems that have been nagging you. You might scribble a poem, or a short story, or start that novel you’ve always wanted to write. There are no rules to how to create, but it all starts with a conscious decision, a decision that may well turn into a manifesto: I choose creativity over endless consumption.
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