I Needed a Creative Outlet—and This Is Why You Need One Too
You just need to let it all out.
I have a morning routine: Catch the same train at the same time, sit in the same seat, drinking my coffee that I make for myself in the mornings, and listening to my music that drowns out the chatter from the people around me. I go to my 9 to 5 and then take the same train back home, at the same time sit, in the same seat... you know the drill. I am a creature of habit and patterns. I just need structure and rules. However, over a period of time, this just wasn't the case anymore.
It all started when I took my first vacation day. I just got off almost a whole year of being on contract and now I was able to take my allocated time off. Excitedly, I scattered the dates, me being single, of course, I was in no rush to take off a week at a time because I had no plans. My boss recommended that I take off Friday for the rest of year so that I use up my vacation time and enjoy four-day work weeks. I took it.
Let me tell you, four-day work weeks are amazing. I realized that every week, my excitement for Thursdays were growing. This made me realize two things: Firstly, I hate my job and secondly, what was I going to do when my vacation time ran out and I would be subjected to five-day work weeks?! Like I mentioned earlier: I am a creature of habit.
When my vacation time ran out and I started 2019 with five-day work weeks... the phrase "the struggle is real" was something I could deeply resonated with. I slowly found myself hitting snooze way much more than I normally would and found my excitement for my morning routine, which includes choosing an outfit and putting on makeup, both of which were declining. I was wearing the same outfits all the time: A turtleneck with jeans or some sort of pants with no makeup and hair in a bun. Not to mention, I was missing my trains, which resulted in me coming into work late every morning. This is strange for me, as I am someone who takes pride in my ability to dress neatly, look presentable, come in early, and stay late. So what was my problem?
I started to blame my job, and my lack of excitement for it. There was no challenge. I beat the learning curve and was coaching new people. So now where was my ability to grow? I couldn't look for new positions, as it's policy to stay in your current position after being offered full-time for a whole year. I still have a few months to go. So what was I going to do... I was currently stuck and didn't know what to do to motivate myself.
I was sitting on the train home, when I stumbled upon an app similar to Vocal (I will not mention names as it's not my intent to comment on it) where I saw a setting "Write a Story." Then it hit me: All my life I've been gravitating towards the arts subconsciously... why don't I try to pursue it consciously? Who knows the outcome, it might be something for me, or it might not be. I wanted to try. I've always been drawn to the arts, whether it be drama, music, or art. I was just never pushed to pursue it, but took part whenever I could. In high school, I joined the drama club during my senior year, which helped me with my anxiety and public speaking; and in college, I took creative writing and literature classes as electives. So I told myself, just do it, why not?
While I am still new and earning my stripes when it comes to freelance work, I didn't know how much it would change my mood and my outlook. I constantly have this itch to "put words on to paper." I am writing this article now on my lunch break, and let me tell you this: It's made me feel so much better. I am able to get to work on time. I am able to be more productive and take time to get back to my old self. I realized that while I still am not particularly "excited" about my job, and will be looking for options once my time is up... I've brought upon myself this outlet to just let things out that I've kept bottled up. It's therapeutic for me to take time on my train ride, or breaks in the day to just pen something out. Now, not everything I write, do I publish. I scrap most, or keep most, and get back to them at a later time. It all depends. For you, it might be nature, meeting with friends, family, cleaning the house, gardening, etc. The options are endless.
We all need healthy outlets and it's so important that you find yours.
I encourage you, to take time to find the things you really enjoy and go for it. It's one of the best feelings to be able to do something you love and enjoy doing. It's taken me years to find something that has brought me this much joy and satisfaction. Just be patient and listen to yourself, practice self-reflection, and sometimes just take time to reminisce on your past. Our past is part of what makes us present—so take time to revisit it.
You never know what you're missing out on if you don't try.