When I was in third grade, my teacher asked the class to write a story and illustrate it with drawings. At that time, I had done a lot of doodling and coloring, but I had never straight-up drawn anything. This was my first important drawing. After a few tries, I remember seeing the result and thinking “Wow! I can draw.” I labeled myself as someone who could draw early in life.
The next day, the teacher asked us to work on an assignment while she graded our homework. We were working in silence when she suddenly exclaimed, “This is what I’m talking about. Jessica you have made some great drawings!”
She loved them so much, that she passed the notebook around the classroom so everybody could see my art. I was a shy girl. But the public recognition felt so good, and I embraced it. Since then, I gained the confidence needed to keep drawing.
Choosing what I wanted to be when I grew up was a matter of answering these questions:
1. What am I good at?
2. What makes me curious?
3. What do I see myself doing in ten or twenty years from now?
Well, the answer to the above turned out to be being an English teacher! English was always my favorite subject and the one I was best at. In my mind, my relationship to drawing was just a love affair. I didn’t want to commit to it. I just wanted it to be an escape that allows me to relax and have fun (which it still is).
So I accomplished my dream of being an English teacher, and I was happy while it lasted. When I first moved to the Netherlands (about three years ago), I mourned my old life a whole lot. I missed being in front of a classroom, and I missed my students. But the beauty of moving to a new country is that you can start a new life. So that’s what I did.
I started an online business along with this blog. At first, I was a bit hesitant because I had never written anything before. Sure, I wrote lots of academic papers, but I didn’t consider that creative writing. I remember when I wrote my very first blog post. This was my reaction:
“Wow, did I write this?”
And a little while later, I labeled myself as a writer and I kept writing because I had stories to tell.
At the end of last year, I started illustrating my blog posts with my own drawings. Just like I did in elementary school! This made me connect with my creative inner child and start taking drawing more seriously. I never really wanted to be an artist/illustrator when I grew up. I just wanted to be an English teacher. But I realized that this lifetime allows us to be more than one thing in life. I am lucky to see myself evolve from teacher to writer, to artist.
Perhaps you’re feeling troubled when it comes to finding your passion or purpose. Or maybe you’re craving a career change. If so, I invite you to take a look back to your childhood and think about the things you enjoyed doing when you were little. Things your parents, friends, and teachers applauded.
Whether you’re in your 30’s or 60’s, you can start right now, right where you are, and with what you have. You can craft a life that excites you – a life that makes you get out of bed and say, “Let’s do this!”
When a friend of mine found out that I was going to take an online class on water coloring, she asked if she could join me. She explained to me that she bought a set of watercolors ten years ago and she hadn’t had the chance to use them. After watching a couple of videos, this is what she created:
When you allow yourself to try and be new things, you will also find yourself saying things like:
“Wow! Did I create this?”
Finally, I’d like to share my key to living a creative life with you:Observe and appreciate the beauty around you. Get inspired by your surroundings, and practice the heck out of your craft. Click To Tweet
Try new things for the sake of experimenting. We are all capable of making beautiful things. It’s just a matter of allowing ourselves to play, have fun, and learn.