Thursday, August 25, 2011

Creativity: Elizabeth of Riding in the Sun

Day 4 of HEIA: Creativity.

And now, a word from a fellow journalist, my beautiful (and resourceful) cousin-in-law, Elizabeth. She uses creativity to enrich her day-to-day life, and improve her relationships with others. Read on:

Swinging on a shoestring

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Everyday life takes you places and demands results often when you have the least resources. When this happens- I wing it. Whether I’m camping, cooking a new dish, planning an international trip or searching for a new job, something always happens that requires me to improvise with however little (or much) I have.

I am an expert at inventing, improvising and winging it at this point. For a whole year both my husband and I have had to make a happy, satisfying lives out of Murphy beds, basement dwellings, messy roommates, lack of running water and unemployment of unforeseeable length. Yep- we have been vagabonds in almost every sense of the word. Monkeys swinging from vine-to-vine. And we have proudly made the most of it all through collaboration and creativity. I started a blog to write about all of our moments of genius grown from necessity- about everyday adventure making.

Preparing food in less-than-ideal living situations has probably inspired the most creativity, because you have to do it so often.  Recently, in our sixth sublease of 2011, the kitchen (or lack thereof) inspired me to research one-pot meals (we only had two) that would make meals tasty and varied. My family’s favorite time is around the dinner table, enjoying food that we have worked hard to prepare together and conversation we have missed out on during the workday. With a lame kitchen (think no running water, only a toaster oven) I was forced to think beyond my usual food preferences. But, the result brought a lot of fun into our temporary home.

Life itself also calls for creative measures when considering a new career or seeking employment. The first thing you learn when looking for a job is that no one owes you anything. The second thing you learn is that you only get out of career development efforts what you put in. In searching for a job (which I have now, thankfully), I learned to look at myself and my skillsets from a whole lot of angles. I thought of dozens of careers paths, uniquely framed more than 100 cover letters and invested myself in interesting part-time efforts while I was waiting for a paying gig to emerge. I also considered people I knew, people who knew somebody I wanted to know, companies of interest, causes that excited me, and figured out how to create a personal connection. The result? Well, I do have a job. I know better what I do and don’t want in a career. And, I have had the chance to do cool things like volunteer at the National Press Club, be interviewed on a Canadian radio program and become an outdoor gear reviewer that fuels my hobbies with cool gear. The world is full of a lot of “NO.” But, with some ingenuity and persistence, you can hear some “maybes,” “tell me mores,” or even “YES.” It’s way hard. But, I think the best path to walk is the one you have blazed yourself. 

I can write easily about all of this in retrospection, with my family having a great apartment, all of our belongings, two full-time jobs and stability literally within a week’s reach. Plus, I had the advantage of being in reach of all the interesting (and free!) adventures Washington, DC has to offer while I was struggling. I wouldn’t wish the instability I have experienced on anyone, but I would highly recommend it. What a time to forge your character and let your true life-sustaining creativity shine. If you can make the most out of what most people would “make do,” you will be well-practiced rising to any challenge with a creative flair.

P.S. Want to add your voice to the discussion on creativity? E-mail me at hannahmoore2007 at hotmail dot com.


Ross said...

Good to see that all the hard work has payed off! So many of us take for granted the jobs we have, thinking that if we were without one tomorrow it would be easy to get another.

Hannah said...

You're definitely right, Ross!

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