A good friend recommended I start reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. The book is actually more of a course with 12 weeks of lessons and homework (!) meant to provide anyone who wants to tap into any sort of creativity with the tools and a mindset to go after it.
One of the first assignments is to devote a few hours a week to feed your creative soul. This means alone, no spouse, friends or relatives allowed, but the creative outlet could be anything a person chooses.
I don’t know why the concept struck me as such a novelty. When I lived in Philly, I would walk to a little independent movie theatre almost every Wednesday, (it was $6 to see a movie all day) to see a movie by myself. I loved being able to discuss all the indie films with friends and make recommendations.
Another time, I spent the day in New York because I wanted to see a Chanel exhibit at the MET. I don’t even remember whether I invited a friend to come along, or if I just wanted to go and experience it myself. The old me could lose an entire afternoon sipping coffee and browsing magazines and books at Barnes and Noble.
Looking back at that time, there was always a show, a gallery opening, an extra theatre ticket, a dance show or a new exhibit at the museum—and I was eagerly going to every event. I felt in tune with the creative pulse of the city and my own artistic ambitions.
It was only after reading the assignment that it occurred to me that my alone time has dramatically shifted into errands and to-do lists. What happened to a Sunday afternoon at a museum instead of Target?
Though I still have the same interests, they some how got buried.
It’s easy to make excuses. Everyone is stupid busy, every weekend there is a baby shower, a wedding, laundry, time with family and friends.
Last month, I went to a theatre for the first time in a year, and only because it was a belated birthday gift, from the same friend.
Yes, my husband doesn’t enjoy musicals, but I do. Why have I let that stop me from going to places alone? Why am I waiting to find someone to see Amy with? Why haven’t I tried that new sushi place or that hot new Mexican restaurant by myself? Why have I now started to wait for someone to join me, when I never succumbed to the stigma of being out alone in my 20s?
This weekend I’ll be doing more of what makes me happy. So my I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T self will be taking herself to the movies, and then out for a glass of wine. What are your plans for one this weekend?