When we are young our minds are open to new possibilities, experiences, and thought paths.
As we age, we begin to form “ruts” in our way of thinking. As we grow older, each of us begins to accept that things need to be a certain way, or should be a certain way, for whatever reason.
Through age we discover that we will never fully understand the opposite sex, that what goes up will (undoubtedly) come down, and that the best way to solve a puzzle is one piece at a time.
Why, during our aging process but after a certain level of adulthood, do we accept things “as is” and forget about the possibility that things don’t have to be how they are? Why is it that so many of us are afraid to push boundaries after we reach adulthood?
There’s a great article over at NYTimes.com called Exploring the past: Creativity in Old Age (I strongly recommend you read it if you have 5 minutes to spare, and believe me: you do). In the New York Times article, Dr. Harry R. Moody states:
“Often the decline in creativity comes about because people’s underlying capabilities are not being challenged – they’re locked into jobs or situations that are boring.”
Ah ha! The reason so many adults begin to feel as though they aren’t as creative as they once were is because they lock themselves into situations that are repetitive or boring.
Ask yourself this: when was the last time I did something creatively challening, something outside of my regular routine?
Compare your answer to the one of this question: as a youth, how often did I break with routine using creativity? As we grow older we force ourselves to become locked down into routines, we force ourselves to avoid challenges for fear of losing money, a job, or love. As an adult, we might need to support a family, so we’ll lock ourselves into a job where our creativity is greatly hindered. Or maybe, as an adult, we’ll realize that our future is heavily dependent on retirement (but is it?).
In conclusion, age brings responsibilities, the false need to “lock into routines”, and the overwhelming feeling of being less creative. But it’s not age that can make you any less creative. Only you can make yourself less creative.
So, today, try breaking with routine. Challenge your creativity. Call in sick and go for a drive to a place you have never been to, go attempt to fly a kite in a field, make chocolate chip pancakes (using blended bananas in the batter instead of eggs) for dinner. Do something that is far from your regular routine and challenges your creativity.
Even if it’s just for today: realize that you are not stuck as you grow older, you are still creative… you just need a way to express it.
As C. P. Fulford Jr. once said: “If you are coasting, it means you are going downhill.”