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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Creative Instincts

Pick up a fresh set of skills and make it a hobby that helps you tide over difficult times and which brings you pleasure in the long term. Dancewithshadows.com takes you for a ride on the hobby horse.


People have creativity lying dormant and untapped because of work commitments and greater responsibility that comes with family and career. Sometimes, looking at the finer details takes your attention from the big picture. We curb that urge to paint, or to learn singing, or write that novel that is within us. But it doesn't have to be that way..

It is important to take things seriously – where your overall health and personality development is concerned. You don’t let society’s opinions deter you from taking the right steps towards that promotion your eyeing or that spacious office at the end of the corridor. Similarly, when trying to unwind, being a little unmindful helps. For eg: you might be told that learning sculpting at your age is not going to make you millions. But, it might save you money. If you are stressed to the point where your health suffers, then you will start doing the rounds of specialists and doctors. But if some wet clay and the potter’s wheel lets you work the frustration out of your system, then you have just saved on many doctors bills.

Go and get a hobby for yourself. Decide on what suits your interests and bring that childish joie de vivre that you used to take with you to the playground. A lively curiosity will make up for not knowing anything about the hobby you chose to take up. Genuine interest and the willingness to learn will keep your spirits from flagging – especially if you are learning a skill like computers, which kids pick up with amazing ease these days.

While choosing a hobby definitely keep in mind age and your health. You might be too old to begin paragliding but just right for starting a landscaping project. Remember that both John Glenn and George Bush Sr did amazing things in their late seventies. John Glenn became the oldest man to go to space – he was 77. The former US president did some skydiving only when he turned 70. If you enjoy their level of fitness and good health, go for it.

 Pick anything that fits your personality. If you are exuberant and outgoing, join a dance class, do aerobics, take an adult literacy class. Horse riding is another thrilling activity to take up. You enjoy access to superbly bred horses and a vast green space in the midst of a crowded city. If you prefer to do things indoors, call over friends for a game of housie, cards, Scrabble or Pictionary. Keep prizes for the winners. Even adults like to win goodies!

 If you are the nurturing type - then bake and cook for kiddie parties in your spare time. It might not only be for social occasions, you might want to make snacks for a charity event. This will give you that feeling of having done your bit for a good cause. Even thinking up new games for parties can make it enjoyable for you. You may want to babysit hyperactive cherubs. They can give you immense joy. If you like growing things, then create your own Garden of Eden. Plant vegetables, roses and fruit-bearing trees, if you can.

 If cerebral stuff amazes you and you want to dazzle people, you can learn to design crosswords. Make a story book from scratch for your children. Engaging them in your hobby will be a nice way of passing on a creative tradition. If astrology entrances you, then learn how to predict the future. Take a tour of the city you live in – even if you lived in it all your life. A city always opens new doors to its own history. You can document the heritage of your birth place. Plotting your family tree, or putting the family pictures in order can be another time consuming but exhilarating experience. All that reminiscing will be valuable time well spent. Write a book. The research you have to do will keep you pleasantly exhausted.

 There are plenty of things for the adventurous to do. You can try everything from parasailing to white water rafting to mountain climbing. Just make sure you are trim and fit enough to do any of them. Take a doctor’s approval to be on the safe side.

 For those wanting to pick up new skills, you can learn to make your own little coffee table at a carpentry course. Learn to sculpt and you will have beautiful nymphs in your studio! Knitting a sweater or a pair of booties is also a nice skill to learn. Even Hollywood screen goddesses like Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz do it between shoots on the sets, so you are in stellar company! Learn a foreign language or do some scintillating photography.

Eventually, do anything that will take your mind of your cares for a short period of time, everyday. This will ensure that you have a better quality of life. Another bonus is that after retirement, you won’t be at sea with all that extra time on your hands. Having given yourself a head start, all you have to do is capitalise on it. Making the most of the talents that you have, will bring immense satisfaction. It will seem like a life well lived.

Written for First Citizen - Shoppers' Stop magazine for its privileged customers.

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