This is a question often thrown around in creative circles, and those looking for the golden egg of escaping the rat race.
When I reignited my passion for creativity recently, all I wanted to do was immerse myself in it totally – sketching, doodling, creating patterns, mandalas, setting up my online shops and learning about digital design.
At the same time, I started to see my day job in patient transport as a burden and something that was taking me away from creativity. I have always loved working in patient transport – listening to peoples’ stories, nurturing and caring for others, driving around and the occasional lunch break on the beach. But ever since creativity re-entered my life, my perception of this job totally changed. The key here is ‘my perception’. I could no longer see the adventure, fun and satisfaction in this job. The job was still the same, but I was different, and so the way I now perceived my job had changed as a result of internal changes.
But in life, everything changes and nothing stays the same for too long. Recently, I have started to see my day job in a different way again. I have started to become aware of the blessings and hidden gems within this job, that relate directly to my creativity. I have started to take note of the artwork hanging on hospitals walls and in nursing homes. I have started noticing gardens, rocks, flowers, weeds in crevices in the most mundane of places. I have started paying attention to the shifting landscape of clouds and colours of dawn and dusk. These are all precious sources of inspiration for my creativity. There is something enriching about seeing beauty in the so-called mundane.
Exploring the work of Patternity.org through their book ‘Patternity – A New Way of Seeing – The Inspirational Power of Pattern’ (sadly now out of print 🙂 has been instrumental in opening my eyes to the beauty and meaning of everyday surroundings.
The above photo is one that I took recently during downtime on a gloomy, humid day outside a nursing home. The colours and shapes are simply divine and a beautiful source of inspiration for my design work.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” is a quote that I have come across many times. It has been quoted by Dr Wayne Dyer, but originates from Professor Max Planck who was the Nobel prize recipient for physics in 1918 – two very smart people!
I now see my day job as an extension of creativity, a source of grounding and balance with my creative work. As any artist knows, time away from the drawing board is crucial, to avoid burnout and to get out of your mind for a bit. Working in patient transport is quite physical, which my body appreciates as a break from sitting at a desk.
I used to envy creative colleagues of mine, who get to work on their creative pursuits in a full time capacity. I don’t have that luxury at this point in time, and what I have come to realise first hand, is Parkinson’s Law – ‘The less time I have, the more I get done’. It may be counter intuitive but it’s true. My creative work often gets done in small pockets of time and I find that if I have an entire day for creativity, it isn’t necessarily more productive than small pockets of time, found during and around my day job.
When am I leaving my day job? No time soon.
Life is about balance. Life is how I perceive it.