I‘ve been many things in my life: artist, sculptor, astronaut, cowboy, race car driver. I don't do very many of these things these days. I sold my slot car set years ago, my father put my “space ship” out in the garbage, and various other setbacks -- all victims of my moving on from childhood.
The way we approach life as a child is so very different from how we often end up. There was a time when, not only were we all creative, we were enthusiastic about it. I was a great cowboy. I was also quite good at drawing along with that guy who was on TV Tuesdays after school.
The reality, of course, is that most were passing interests. Others were simply opportunistic -- being an astronaut or submarine captain was only possible between appliance delivery and garbage day. As we mature, we tend to lose the urge to jump into practically anything interesting. But growing out of childhood’s creative theme park is one thing. How many of us have let ourselves grow out of creativity all together?
This brings to mind the adage “You don't stop playing because you get old. You get old because you stop playing”. The same might be said of creativity. Maybe we don't stop being creative because we're not very good at it, we're not very good at it because we stopped being creative.
So why do we stop playing or stop creating? Several reasons. One culprit is our internal critic. If we compare our results to some ideal and feel it doesn't measure up, the inner critic might not let us rest until we give up in despair.
An even more insidious factor is systematic discouragement. Your parents told you not to do X. Your friends mocked you because you liked Y. Teachers want you to do it their way, as does your boss. And so, as we enter the adult world, we may have lost touch with our creativity. Or maybe we just got out of the habit.
The good news is that all your creativity is still there, perfectly intact. You just have to get reacquainted with it. You have my permission.