Written by Michaela MacBlake Matthews
Sometimes, we have too much on our plates to create. Long-term, high-magnitude life events come barreling in, and sometimes the best we can do for self care is make the time to use conditioner in the ten minute shower. Whether it’s starting a new business, raising a family, or long periods of rise-and-grind for the mortgage, we all fall into seasons at some point where our creative hobbies fall by the wayside.While crafting is a soul-soothing pursuit, it usually isn’t an urgent task on the to-do list, and when life is running full force, finding the time to knit, sew, or crochet can become the last priority. It happens.
But, the longer our hobbies stay on the back burner, the more they can begin to feel like strangers to us. After years, we stop identifying ourselves as crafters, and it starts to disintegrate into a footnote from our past. When this happens, it can become more and more difficult to get back into the groove.
How Do You Know It’s Time To Start Creating Again?
When you start watching TV regularly…
When the chaos of everyday life begins to settle, but the habit to get up and make something has fallen out of place, we naturally tend to replace that time with the lowest energy hobby available.
When we slip into dead-air free time, we’re often unaware of what’s missing at first, and the low-energy hobby can slowly start to dampen us out. This could mean watching (or even binging) on tv shows, scrolling through social media, or even having constant low-quality chit chat with friends. Which brings us to the next cue…
When you never feel engaged in your side of the conversation…Being social and keeping in touch with friends and family is a wonderful thing, but there is something to be weary of when you spend lots of time chatting it up with everyone under the sun: quality of conversation.
Sometimes, after the wrong combo of stress and routine, we end up saying a whole lot of nothing in our social lives, and coming away from the interactions with a sense of emptiness… unless the other person brought something interesting to the table. When we fall flat, it’s a surefire sign that we need to allow ourselves some room for passion, and take on a new creative challenge. Crafting gives us something to glow about, and to speak on with an active mind.
When you have empty nest syndrome…
And perhaps the most obvious cue to get back into crafting, the empty nest syndrome. Having too much time on your hands altogether (or trying to fill an empty bedroom) is a great way to fall back into crafting and creating!
It’s worth mentioning, though, that empty nest syndrome isn’t just for people whose children have moved out. A similar feeling can arise after a breakup, leaving a time consuming job, moving out of a roommate situation, or even after caretaking for an elder in the family. Any end to an all-encompassing lifestyle that required your time, space, and attention can leave you with plenty of hours to fill.
So, How Do You Start Creating Again After Years Have Passed?
If possible, pull out an old project from your earlier days, or find a picture of something you made in the past. (If it's from a time when you created regularly, that’s even better!) Meditate on it for a bit, and think back to that time in your life. Take a walk through your memories, and think of the days you spent making it in as clear detail as possible.
Ask yourself, ‘What inspired this creation?’
Was it the color? A material? Did it remind you of a trip, or a class you took? Were you role-modeling a certain person, or following a trend? Why did the idea of that moment resonate with you?
Think about making a sequel.
How would you do things differently now? How have you changed since then? Consider making a sequel to this piece, or a smaller-scale revival of its style!
Give yourself some runway.
It will take some time to shake off the dust from an old hobby, but not as much as you might think. Typically, you’ll fumble with a few rookie mistakes once or twice, and then remember how you used to do things better. It’s important to cut yourself some slack, and be prepared to get some momentum going before you take off!
Make crafting your new centerpiece.
The last, but possibly most important step, is to get your supplies together, and put them dead-center in your life. Take over the dining room table, block the view of the television with your yarn basket, or leave crafting magazines on your nightstand. Wherever you land when you are not crafting but could be, put something in that place to reel you back in!
As we get older, we lose our tendency to obsess over things, and become more laid back. This makes us resilient to the changes and hurdles in life, but it also makes us more reluctant to passion, and resistant to the impulses that drive creativity.
So, get obsessed with creating again.
Deck out your home with crafting gear, embroider your favorite clothes, or knit cozies for things that certainly do not need to be warm, like the handle of your refrigerator. When we miss creating, we miss our focused and fearless selves, and our willingness to experiment with beauty, even if we fail.
When you are ready to get back into creating, even after it’s been decades, all you really need to do is stand up proudly, with sly eyes and the excited smile of a child, and say, ‘I might completely ruin it.’
Then do it anyway.
"Mac" is on the Lifestyle Team here at Darn Good Yarn, and loves taking a ‘teach a man to fish’ approach to creative therapy. She is certified in neuro-linguistic programming, and is also the surreal artist and author behind Surrealismac.