Now that the girls are gone, and I have no one at home to take care of, I can go visit them!!!
I love to travel…like, a lot… for work or pleasure, I just love to get on a plane and go somewhere! So, I make it my business to make extra money and earn extra miles for trips, with or without my family. On a recent weekend, when feeling particularly lonesome for my grown up baby, I flew to L.A. to spend time with her. I got inspired by an Ayesha Curry photo, and put on some jeans and a suit jacket, boots with a little heel, and jetted to the city of angels on a Friday night. All by myself!
The Big Idea
At a hip café the next morning, I described to my daughter the urges I have been having to rekindle my lost sense of creativity. What happened to the creative person I once was? I spent much of my life as a dancer. I wrote in a “diary” or journal religiously from ages 11 until 40. (Not to worry, I have destroyed all of them). I created elaborate theme birthday parties with miniature golf courses and mazes, pirate ship cakes, and castles. I painted every room in the house multiple times, and made THE BEST Halloween costumes, EVER! And then it all faded away. My work and mom schedule made it difficult to dance regularly, the girls no longer needed crazy birthday celebrations, and we all lost our mojo for Halloween. The house and yard are finally how we like it, and, honestly, I’m working all the time. I fit in daily exercise and cook an occasional meal. I hang out with friends for a glass of something, and I plan the next trip. But, none of that really feeds my creative soul. My husband is a musician, my sisters are artists, my brother in-law is an artist, my oldest daughter is a designer, and my youngest is a photographer. I am surrounded by art and artists, on all sides of our families, and yet, I allowed that side of myself to fizzle.
“Make an Instagram page, mom!” Was daughter number one's advice. It sounded fun to combine my love for photography, travel, and middle age wisdom. You need a theme, mom, something to ground you in every post, something about You. Cup of Decaf! That’s it! You drink a cup of decaf every day. Yeah, and I can post pictures of me drinking decaf in all the places I travel and say clever things and have interesting travel tips and display great photos. It all sounded fun and doable, until I needed my daughter to take photos of me while I was in L.A., and my friends to take pictures when I was in NOLA, and my husband to take them when I was home. And the caption game! Well, let's just say it all became very challenging. The idea lost its direction. The aesthetic was just not the look I was going for!
Then daughter number two came home for winter break and we generated some new ideas and fun concepts, but she didn’t have tons of time and I didn’t have tons of outfits! Then began the “followers” angst. Up to 50 in no time, then soared up to 125! Wow! and then down to 115 and up again and down again, and if only I could put a K after that number, I would be an influencer and make tons of money and could quit my job! “You have to play the game,” they told me. Follow people who will follow you back. Have more followers, than people you are following. Comment on posts, be engaged, interact. It started to become so insincere, and meaningless, and embarrassing. I became insecure and anxious about it, even though the whole point was to be creative and have fun. In my effort to do something without my girls, I found I needed their photo skills, advice, tech support, and approval for every post! It's silly, it's not me, it's not working. Again, mojo lost.
Creativity is Never Lost
I started to think back to the original plan and found inspiration in the new year and in the women who are making changes, at all ages. Nancy Pelosi is in her late 70’s, RBG is 85! The young women, the older women, all having an impact and oozing with energy and vibrance. I have always chosen careers that help people; teaching dance, being a dance movement therapist, co-directing a non profit dedicated to the prevention of eating disorders, and now, school psychology. While I want something fun and creative, superficiality isn’t sustainable. I have to keep it inspiring if I want it to last. I have had five careers and earned two masters degrees. I can do this simple thing, can’t I?
Cup of Decaf 2.0
So, here I am. It hasn’t even been three months since that trip to L.A. and I am already on Cup of Decaf 2.0! I’m sure this creative crisis journey is not over, but I am happy to start journaling again (or blogging, as it is called now) and using travels, life events, and photos to inspire. So, join me as I emerge from the mid life creative desert, make a cup of decaf, and think about what feels fun, creative, and worthwhile to add into your routine.