“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”
– Pablo Picasso
I probably would have considered myself artsy or creative for most of my young life. As I got older, I lost something fundamental in perpetuating that belief. I don’t even know what I lost exactly, but it took with it my love for artistry. I think we believe, and therefore propagate, the idea that grown-ups love bills and work, not
art. I remember sitting in English and Photography classes in college, listening to indie music, and contemplating big and beautiful ideas and how to express those ideas for myself. Now I make grocery lists and read articles about managing my finances and pretend that I don’t feel the oncoming emptiness of adulthood that 18-year-old me would have deemed “selling out”. I gave up on so many things that I now realize were greenhouses for growing my best self.
When I was in high school, it wasn’t cool to be artistic. It was weird. In college as the hipster era began to emerge, it started to feel like I was getting “too old” to think about beautiful things or read books by Jane Austen just because the language moved me or listen to bands whose music made me feel conviction, but I did those things anyway. Somehow, since then, I have become the kind of person that looks back at the times I quoted lyrics and lines from books that changed me in some way and I cringe. Why? What could possibly be wrong with seeing the world through the lens of wonder?
I gave up on so many things that I now realize were greenhouses for growing my best self.
I honestly have no answer. I just suddenly stopped curating my life and started accepting it. I put away the desire to document the grandeur of life, and started believing that life is a series of events instead of an adventure. I stopped cultivating creativity and it left me to my own devices. There is a fire going out in my heart and I am afraid of what kind of person I will become if I let it die.
And so, we must all learn to grow older without extinguishing the curious, the convicting, the contemplative, or the creative. Just because we are older and probably wiser, doesn’t mean we are
better. There is something strange about trying to get back to the person you were when you were young, the person you have probably been working for most of your adult life to leave behind. But there is something even more strange about abandoning your love for the imaginative, just because you got old. Fan the flame of innovation. Get the creative fire going once more and never let it go out again.