Edd and I saw a man get hit by a bus a couple of weeks ago.
I actually looked away in the split second that it happened but I heard a terrible noise and then saw a cyclist lie motionless in the middle of the road. For a moment, we held our breath – was he dead? But then – THANK GOD – he moved. We phoned the ambulance and spoke to the police and everything was rather dramatic but in the end, the cyclist seemed to be okay.
I walked away with two things on my mind:
- I need to always wear my helmet when cycling.
- I need to create more.
Sometimes these dramatic events are necessary to stop us in our tracks for a moment. To make us remember that we only have one life and that we need to do everything we can to make it count.
But what does that mean? How do I make the most of my life?
I believe that I was created by God. That I was made in his image. As a creative being. My purpose is to reflect his beauty and love and to live out all the things he put in me. To be creative. To pursue my passions.
The thing that stops me most frequently from doing so is fear. And this odd expectation that I need to be ‘good’ at everything I do. (God forbid that it would be enough to do something for pure pleasure!)
This realization came to me as I was reading this book ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. In one of the first chapters she gives this list of reasons why people are afraid to live more creative lives:
Being scared of having no talent.
Being scared of criticism.
Being scared that you are not as good as somebody else.
Being scared of not being taken seriously.
Being scared to not produce anything important enough.
Being scared of upsetting people.
I can relate to all of them.
Over the course of the book Gilbert addresses each of those and stresses that fear should never hold us back from pursuing our creative dreams.
What especially spoke to me was her advice to not take ourselves to seriously. I used to think that I can’t really start writing properly until I have learned more, experienced more and have something more meaningful to say. That I should never write a story to merely entertain, oh no, it should inspire people to be better, even more, it should change society.
Not that these aren’t admirable dreams. But pursuing this as the ultimate goal puts an awful lot of pressure on myself. And ultimately, this goal is so daunting, that out of fear to fail I do not even start.
Life is too short for that. I might get hit by a bus tomorrow. I might not get to learn and experience all those important lessons of life to create something super meaningful. I am here now. I have something to say. It might be small and not necessarily life-changing but maybe it will make people smile or feel understood or grateful. And maybe it won’t. But I will do it anyway. Because I love it. Because it is a part of why I am here.
I hope this encourages you, to make room for your own creative dreams. To act despite fear. To enjoy the process and stop caring about the outcome.
“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” –Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic