About 15 years ago, my sister-in-law glanced incredulously at me while flipping the pages of my sketchbooks. “Loraine, why on earth aren’t you doing your artwork? Or your writing for that matter?
I laughed. “Oh, sure, I think I have all of a ½ hour per day when I’m not either driving the kids around to their school sports, cooking meals for said children, or taking care of our acreage and horses. Oh, yes… I guess I also have a husband in there too who requires a little attention. If I allowed myself creative outlets, I would be like that cranky dog with a bone. I would not be a nice mommy or a supportive wife if I was dragged away from my writing or artwork. Besides, creativity can’t just be turned on and off like a tap when the few moments arise.”
The excuses rolled out of my mouth faster than our kids and their friends exiting their school at 2:30. And to be honest the excuses were mostly valid. At that point in my life the kids were my priority and I wasn’t going to miss a thing. Their desires and needs for my services and time would soon pass as their priorities and lifestyles changed.
(My son Andrew in his track years)
It might have been different had I not had my other hobbies taking up my time too (my horses and showing). So my creative side waited, not all that patiently, along the sidelines.
Later, after my kids graduated and the hours spent as a taxi driver and fan of their sports diminished to zero, I allowed myself to tread tentatively toward my neglected artistic and creative side. Also due to nagging injuries, I had to let go of my horses and acreage. My creative juices were flowing full steam ahead in the form of writing courses, conferences and contests. I was also commissioned to illustrate my first book. Hallelujah! I’d turned the page of my life.
Dependents come in many forms. First it was the children but now my last remaining parent, my mom, whom I adore, needs my help. Of course, as before with my children, when her needs arise, I leave everything and leap to her side. Thus my creative outlets are yet again sometimes leashed and tethered.
(Me, my mom and my sister)
But I have now found, perhaps as a more assertive ‘over fifty’ woman, that delegating has had to become the norm, rather than taking on everything as I did before. We luckily do have a large and supportive family in town and there is now a schedule of duties. Even though I’m the only daughter in town, the other brothers have been roped in for duty as well as their fantastic wives.
Also, my age-old excuse of being unable to ‘turn on my creativity like a tap’ doesn’t cut it anymore. If I have only a few minutes to spare, those minutes are put to use. Every person has an ideal time to write and work, and mine is in the mornings. However, if have been up with the owls on occasion to get some deadlines met. Even though my kids do ‘all nighters’ for school frequently, I detest them. But do them I must, to get done. Oddly enough, my body seems to go through a bit of a sleepy snit-fit about midnight, but then gives in for the second wind now.
So, tell me. How do you all get your projects done when dependents tug at your collars?