So it’s Friday, and my last full day of vacation. It’s interesting to me that I spent so long feeling like I was missing some sort of creative outlet, but when I had a bunch of free time, I didn’t sit down and start a creative project, but instead did a hundred little projects around the house that needed to be done. But in those hundred things, I gave myself the time and space unimpeded by a schedule to be creative – to toy with different solutions, to figure out the best way to do it, to add the flourish that made it look just right.
Most of the time I spend working on the house was actually spent doing interior design – rethinking our living spaces and how we use them; relocating and creating the white space and margins and breathing room around our clutter, learning what looked best where and breaking down assumptions of what our creative spaces should be around the house. Prompted by our friend Lisa, I did a bit of reading in my tattered old copy of A Pattern Language that helped me do some of that assumption breaking about rooms and their uses and what makes us feel good about the space we live in.
All that about living space aside… the fact that I went from being an extremely unhappy person to being an extremely happy person in the space of a week has a lot of implications.
I’m much more creative and get far more work done (an extraordinary amount of work done) when I don’t have schedules and deadlines. I work better in an unstructured environment than a structured one. I knew that on some level because I’ve always resisted day planners and life organizers and Getting Things Done type schemes and wreckage of a thousand failed attempts at those all around. That I clearly need to throw away.
How I can reconcile that with my highly (over) structured job, I don’t know. I work there five days a week, and spend the next two days trying to recover from the brutality of it. So I never have time to do that unstructured, free-form play/work around the house, especially when we have weekend social events and friends that box in my only free time into schedules and “go here!” “go there!” blocks of time. I’ve turned into an anti-social person over the last few years as a result – not because I don’t love my friends, but because I don’t love my job, and scheduling time is too much like a job.
I want to quit my job and become an artist. But then, who doesn’t? And if I did, we wouldn’t be able to keep everything that we have. So, I guess Monday I go back to work.