I have yet to watch the highly-regarding Ted Talk on this topic by Sir Ken Robinson. But this very question evokes so much for me.
I have often wondered if I would have started writing if my dad didn’t die when I was 21. If I would have blossomed creatively in my 20s, had this tragic event not occurred. After a year of pushing through the pain and moving at a faster pace than usual, I slowed down one year after my father died. I turned to writing (and nature walks!) because that is where I found solace and healing.
I had written some songs and poems in middle school, but they were sparse. Not surprisingly, I was happy when my English teacher would assign a creative writing assignment, but they were less common throughout the years versus book reports and research papers. Ahh, all those novels I read in high school. Every. Single. Page. Because I was assigned to read them. And I comply with assignments quite well. Those novels I hardly understood, and certainly was not much inspired by. That was where the bulk of my writing energy went in those years.
Not only till my adulthood, which coincided with my father’s death (I’ve oft pondered how it’s impossible to know what personal growth/change was influenced by my father’s death versus which were a regular part of the trajectory of maturing into adulthood—it’s all intertwined and that’s just how it is!), did I really write consistently. Did I cultivate the ability to step back and introspect. To be still. Because after all, from that stillness—that being with oneself in the moment—is where ideas start to bubble up from our unconscious.
Everyone experiences difficulty in life. Creativity and self-expression are a crucial part of the healing process, of coping with what life sends our way.
And even for those who are not experiencing deep pain, creativity and self-expression are essential for finding school-life balance, which later evolves into work-life balance.
Gila is the author of The Roadmap Ends Here: Entering Adulthood. Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book edition.