The precarious path of creative living

Living a creative life is a sketchy, nerve-wracking endeavor. We’re making something out of nothing. At this very moment, as I type this sentence, I have no idea what my next sentence is going to be. I’m not following a mold, a blueprint, a map, or one of those maddening Ikea instruction sheets.

This applies not only to artists of the literal sense. For example, the other day, we rented a car. The lady at the counter rattled off instructions to us in the most lifeless, monotone voice. She had literally sold her soul to the company store. It was nowhere to be found.

When my wife asked her a question, the lady’s reaction was uncanny. Without making eye contact, she went to section 14-b of the employee handbook and recited it perfectly — again, in a monosyllabic run-on statement — as she typed in our info.

Zero. Human. Connection.

This woman had a chance to make art. She could have created an experience that elevated all of us. She could have connected in a human way to these people (us) on the other side of the counter.

Instead, she had consciously traded in her thoughts to the thoughts of an employee handbook and corporate guidelines. So sad.

If she looked at her work, as meager as it may seem, as a chance to CREATE new experiences for herself and others, it’s my bet that she wouldn’t stay at her current job for long. The universe would mold in-kind to her thoughts and she’d evolve outta there in short order (if that’s what she really wanted).

Sure, this kind of thing is scary. It’s much safer to stick with the ‘rules’ and do what you’re told. When you have three kids at home and rent coming up, the last thing you want to do when you’re scared is stray from the requirements.

But here’s the question.

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Who are you in this very moment? Forget yesterday. Forget tomorrow. Right. Now.

What version of yourself are you proclaiming to the universe?


Are you the scared victim who’s going to hunker down and do the bare minimum. Is your highest statement to life one of fear?

Or are you bigger than that? Do you know, in your heart of hearts, that even if your company cans you on the spot for being a human, you’re going to be better off without them — hungry bellies at home to feed or not? What kind of woman do you want your kids talking to their friends, and to themselves, about? What story are you authoring about your life?

These are the tough questions a creative is faced with multiple times a day.

As creatives, positivity and higher thinking aren’t mere pointless escapes into Polyannaville. They’re the tools we use to keep our heads filled with the right thoughts so we can overcome our smaller selves.

When we realize that in life, we can’t escape the fact that every moment offers us a choice. A choice to make. To be. To do. Or not.


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Jonas writes daily essays and meditations at Medium. To get them delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.