Conducive: Things won’t be “better” tomorrow
The way she had no control over the volume of her voice, and every word came out as a seratonin-fueled shout confirmed a trip to the aquarium was a great idea. She hurried along, barely stopping to look at into tanks, determined to see every fish all at once.
We watch a lot of “Octonauts” at our house. It’s basically a cartoon about animals who are marine biologist. Good show. You actually learn a lot.
My wife and I had taken note of the glaze over her eyes as she watched animals medicate other animals and decided to take her to the aquarium.
The week of the visit was filled with questions from our 3 year old scientist. “When are we going to the aquarium?” yelped a littled voice from the back seat.
When I relpied, “Saturday” I was met with a blank stare. Not the Octonauts kind of blank stare, but one that expected a better answer.
“Uhh, 2 more sleeps.” The answer sufficed and her head turned back towards her window. She seemed to understand, as if counting down bedtimes was easier than counting the down the days.
Then I had a thought;
Why don’t adults count bedtimes too?
Every day is a struggle for me to stay inspired. Even sitting down to write this required a lot of intentional planning of my day. We have to cultivate creativity. It never just happens. When it comes down to it, creativity is pretty fragile. But I think the driving force behind the delicate nature of creativity is peace. We must be at peace with the world in order to be creative. Creativity doesn’t require everything to be “right” but rather, to be conducive.
I think that’s why adults count days instead of bedtimes. For a 3 year old bedtime is the low point of the day. It’s the time of least excitement, the part of day they have to “just get through.” But how often do we adults find ourselves saying, “Ah, now I can settle down” in the last minutes before we go to bed?
For others (such as myself) the “right before bed feeling” can be the exact opposite of peace; anxiety over all that we didn’t accomplish today. So no matter which “before bed” feeling you identify with, doesn’t this totally ignore the peace that could be found in the day we just experienced?
And isn’t there something really wrong about that?
How can we cultivate creativity if our days are nothing more than a burden?In a way, counting down the days until we go to the aquarium shows just how little we value the days leading up to it.
Deep down we can see them simply as barriers between us and peace, excitement, fun, or togetherness.
I’m not saying it’s bad to look forward to your vacation, wedding, or birthday, I’m saying it’s a problem when we aren’t just as excited every other day.
As many parents are familiar with, my mornings begin with the sound of singing, squealing, and the pattering of little feet. It’s that certain kind of energy that comes from being genuinely excited about what the day might hold.
As adults we have to get back to that place; the place where every day is captivating.
It’s going to take a lot of that intentionality.
We will have to reevaluate priorities, cut things out, start our morning differently, and somehow find a way to replicate that “right before bed” feeling of peace.
I promise you this, you will never find peace if you’re just counting down the days until the aquarium. And without that peace, we will never be able to experience the fulness of a passionate and creative life.