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She is Not of The Age

Ava's image

I was thinking the other day about creativity and why I seem to have lost it over time.

In my cube at work I have a picture that my seven year old niece made for me at Easter.   She loves to draw, as most little girls do. She will draw a picture with anything on anything. So at Easter, when she felt the urge she pulled out a school notebook and started drawing. I think she’s the slightly shorter one in the picture. She has the speech balloon pointing to her mouth, and it’s filled with love. I wonder how aware she is that her speech contains that much love.   Judging by the picture, I think she’s quite aware. The representation of me has a big smile on my face so I must be enjoying it.

Anyway, I remember watching her just run off with paper and very shortly thereafter, come rushing back with this picture. She was so calm when she showed me. She didn’t say I hope you like it! She just said This is for you, Aunt Leann!

After I accepted it and told her it was going up in my cube at work; she nodded her head and ran off with her brother. I got to thinking, I don’t come rushing up to people with what I’ve creatively brought forth and just say Here you go! At work (significantly less creative) I am checking and re-checking and it still takes me 30 minutes to press the send button when I have to send my document out for review (last-minute, of course). With the blogs I write here; I’m not standing on a street corner handing out the URL. Why is that? What happens to us past the age of 7?

My niece is reflecting back to me her perception of the time we had just spent together. She feels it, she expresses it. She didn’t worry about good enough or will I like it. It’s hers – why isn’t that good enough? I love that about her. If I had her sized pinky’s worth of her self-confidence to sell I could retire.

She also didn’t seem especially excited that I would hang this up at work. At first, I thought it was because she probably had no idea what a cube was. I thought about showing her this post with cubes. When I got home that nite, I realized the misunderstanding wasn’t with her; it was mine. She didn’t need her work displayed for others. She didn’t withhold her art until I could promise a place of worth to display it. She just expressed.

How many times do we put off creative endeavors that our heart ached to do?

How many times have we heard a tune and thought we could write words to it?

How many times have we seen nature and wanted to paint it, but didn’t?

I had to ask myself, how many words have I not written in this life because “I have better things to do”.

“Better”? What could be deemed better than following that thing that gives us life? What is more meaningful than noticing a nudge towards creativity – whether on canvas, in music or on paper – and given it form? Do we really need to beat it out of its original shape in order to be declared “worthy of my time”?

There’s one big thing I’ve noticed since I started writing this blog and it’s something to ponder when you’re exhausted from a long day. On the days I write, I have more passion for the rest of my life. I can now tell when I don’t write. I’m crabby(ier) than usual. If I don’t meditate AND I don’t write, don’t bother talking to me. Writing plugs me into energy that lifts me up and inspires me all day. I think of more original ways to solve problems at work. I’m clearer in my thoughts. I have more patience, and I could use every ounce I can get. Writing – or any sort of unearthing the creativity that’s so alive in a seven year old  – gives your life meaning. It gives you something to love, not to build. It allows you to be, not to do. Ava lives this. She is not of the age to ask What’s the use?.

I’m glad I wrote that day so I could enjoy the energy of a seven year old teacher….


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