Am I Living the Creative Element of my Retirement Lifestyle Vision?

My retirement lifestyle statement has remained consistent now for a few years.  I did dramatically modify my vision statement a number of times the first few years of retirement as I worked on self discovery and understanding my own personal values versus societal values (see link here about the evolution – a look back at vision statements sep 2020). I recently updated my statement to add in body, heart, mind, and spirit/soul. (See here Latest update on vision statement May 2022). My current statement continues to resonate with me.  I’m still going back and forth on language – creative soul or creative spirit. Today, creative spirit feels right!

Active Body, Connected Heart, Creative Spirit, Contemplative Mind.

I plan my daily and weekly activities and quiet times to reflect this vision.  For quite a long time, I’ve struggled with the creative element.  And my inner critical voice often tells me I’m not doing “it” right. This voice regularly informs me, “If you are not studying and practicing to become a better artist, then you are not really creative.” I’m not taking painting classes or learning to be a gourmet chef or learning to play a musical instrument or taking classes to become a good photographer or working to write another book.  I’m not working to improve in any aspect of creativity… so obviously I am not really creative. Yes, the inner critic voice can be a nasty one.

I needed to rethink manifestation of creative energy in my life to shut down that voice. Here are some real-life examples of how I am living creatively:

  • Trying new recipes when preparing a meal.  And there is also my continual search for the “perfect” Thai brown sauce.
  • Morning pages. I do write in my journal almost every morning, jotting down everything from gratitude from the day before, to what I need to accomplish today, to body scans – physical and emotional, to dream fragments remembers, to how I’m feeling about life.  Sometimes there are hints of blog topics in those pages!  And even writing a blog post (almost) every week is creative.
  • Working in the garden.  Visualizing plantings, arranging containers and yard art.  I created succulent gardens and even some yard art myself.  Maybe it’s not Pinterest-worthy, but fun and cute in my garden.
  • Crafting explorations.  While not “high art”, it does reflect creativity.  While I am not looking to become a master-crafter in any aspect, turning corks, shells, glass beads, and wire into various things is fun.  Again, not Pinterest-worthy, but friends seem to like getting my crafting outputs as small gifts.
  • “Planning in and of itself is a creative endeavor.” I read that comment recently and loved it! I am having fun planning different events – from fun friend gatherings to tourist-in-own-town day trips. My local friends are appreciative of my finding and planning fun things to do.  Even though I believe (Another self limiting belief? Once again I am putting value on one side of an either/or tension!) that living a spontaneous life is better than planning, I need to acknowledge that I am a planner and that does involve creativity.

Yes, I am living with a creative spirit within!  I am creative enough. I am also active enough.  I am connected enough. I am contemplative enough.  [Those are affirmations to work on shutting down that critical inner voice!]

Does this shift in thinking about creative spirit help? What aspects of your life reflect creative energy/spirit?

Picture Credit: inspiration from a garden visit this week – maybe my next craft exploration?

24 thoughts on “Am I Living the Creative Element of my Retirement Lifestyle Vision?

  1. I’ve only been retired for 3 years and I’m still adjusting. Being creative is really important to me also and I’m always telling myself I’m not being creative enough. But I try. You’re right. Our creativity is shown in many different ways!

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  2. Hi Pat, I retired just a few months back and have enjoyed reading about your retirement planning. You provide much food for thought as the next leg of the journey begins. I look forward to hearing more about your future plans. I understand that some things will stick while others won’t, the trick is getting yourself out there, which still remains a bit challenging given COVID. I will be working on my retirement vision statement to help navigate the transition.

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    1. Kathy, thanks for joining the conversation. Yes, some things will stick and others won’t. Sometimes it is hard to start into something because of that unknown. And FYI, my retirement vision statement has also changed multiple times – the first few did not stick!

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  3. Whew, a lot to unpack here. Professional artist speaking now. First, you are talking yourself way down. Almost every paragraph you are making yourself small small small and saying that’s okay. (And small is okay. One of my friends is a founding member of the Association of Micro Galleries. Through her, my literally “small” works have shown internationally which I never would have expected). Basically, if you are creating, you are creative. Simple. When you catch yourself criticising your efforts you need to have some stern words with The Critic. All artists face critique. In fact, when you get serious, you welcome it, even seek it out. I have a ritual for my Critic, which I name as Fear. So, Fear is my friend. It wants to keep me safe. But there is no room for Fear when I am fooling around in my studio. My ritual is I have a doll’s house arm chair for Fear. I invite it to sit in the comfy chair, by the window where it can relax and focus on the world outside. I assure Fear I am not doing anything scary, just cutting up books or smearing paint around. No one’s looking, no one is going to walk in, I won’t run with the scissors or leave pins and needles on the floor, it’s all fine. Sometimes I leave a newspaper by the chair if Fear really needs something to chew on while I do my stuff. So develop a little ritual to thank Fear for its interest in what you’re up to but be firm that you don’t need its help right now. Some people swear at Fear/Critic. I’m more firm but kind. Whatever approach works for you is the right one. You mention Pinterest a few times. Pinterest is like a padding pool, okay. Your own creations are the swimming pool. To make stuff to put on Pinterest is like going to nursery school and teacher tells you how to stick tissue paper on a card for your mother. Pinterest, like nursery school, is a great place to start but eventually you’ll have WAY MORE FUN in the big kid pool with the diving board and all that stuff. I use Pinterest sparingly, as a starting point for research for example or just to get a fast colour palette or a vague concept. Set a time limit for Pinterest (and Google Images for that matter) like an hour or even 20 minutes. I promise you, you will not discover yourself by looking at other people’s Pinterest posts. Lastly, how creative does one have to be A Creative? I mean, what are we talking about here? How pretty is pretty? How smart is smart? If you are creating, you are creative. Simple. If Fear has something to say about, you say thank you but no thank you. If someone doesn’t like what you’ve made, who cares as long as you like it or at least had fun doing it. Even Picasso was told he was washed up and finished before he painted Guernica. If Picasso can be washed up, then what are we doing fussing about whether or not our stuff is “good”?

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    1. Your ritual with your critic is awesome! I’m not wanting to be a professional artist (if that’s even a thing in crafting!), and that was part of my issue. If I’m not striving for professional-level mastery, it’s not really a creative endeavor. I know, it’s not truth, but it was (is?) my belief. I love the phrase, “if you are creating, you are creative”. I’m sticking with that. And having fun with things…. so what if they are just gifts for friends (and they toss them out)….because…. I’m having fun making things!

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  4. Hi Pat – I’m a Left/Logical brained person like you and it feels really strange to explore my more creative side (for most of my life I thought I didn’t have one at all!) Now I’ve come to see that any little creative dabblings are good for the soul – whether they’re Pinterest worthy or not, they light something in me that makes me happy – and you can’t ask for more than that can you? And I really do like your manifesto of “Active Body, Connected Heart, Creative Spirit, Contemplative Mind.” 🙂

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    1. Leanne, It has been fun to tap into creativity in my craft stuff. I can get lost in doing it – that thing they call flow! I just needed to feel like being an amateur and just “playing” was OK. Not striving to “be better.” It’s a different feeling for sure.

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  5. I have read your posts for the past few years, and you are amazing! Your thoughts and ideas are so well thought out and give me inspiration! I think my creative energy is in the kitchen. I love trying new recipes for just about any occasion or meal. I also enjoy cooking, baking and sharing with others. A little group I have joined is teaching me how to crochet…I am a slow learner, but it hasn’t stopped me yet!

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    1. Thank you so much for your very kind comment! And I want to be your friend… sharing your baking with others! I have fun in the kitchen — still trying to perfect a Thai brown sauce – but baking is usually beyond me. I just looked at some new recipes to try this summer… I realized I’ve not experimented in awhile (hubby is kinda happy about that) and am feeling the urge to have some fun with summer veggies.

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  6. Pat, I like creating in the kitchen, (mostly playing around with other people’s recipes) arranging flowers, setting a pretty table, taking and editing photographs, sewing, and blogging. Creativity is within us all and how we chose to express it is so personal. If I allowed myself to be judged by my inner critic, I’d feel very inept indeed. But, I don’t and neither should you. Your good is good enough and those affirming quotes you wrote are a great way to begin each and every day!

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  7. I am a recent subscriber to your blog, as well as recently retired. I taught, researched and wrote about creativity. You are creative. Even your efforts to quiet that inner (negative) voice are examples of your creativity. Just keep doing and being. I am particularly interested in creating a vision statement and a vision board.

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    1. John, thanks for joining the conversation! Vision board and vision statements are both things I’ve enjoyed doing. My vision statement shifted a lot through the years… it was way too complicated when I began. In my book (Retirement Transition), I walk you through creating a vision statement.

      Vision boards I do regularly and have written about them a few times. Below is an excerpt from my Jan 2017 post :-). Simply pick the phrase you want to focus on (ex. what do I want my retirement lifestyle to look and feel like?) – and yes, cut and paste…. do not search for picture on line. It uses a different part of the brain.

      from jan 2017: Pick up 6-10 different kinds of magazines that you’re “attracted to”. I’ve gotten mine at the local half-price bookshop! Then thinking about “what do I want to happen this year?” or “what is my vision for my 2017”, flip through and rip out pictures that you feel a connection with. Using scissors and glue stick, cut and paste your pictures onto a poster board. When you are done, if you are a word-girl like me, you can then “write the story” of the year you’ve created.

      And craft a title, too. That might be your first vision statement!

      let me know if you want more info here…

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    1. Feel free to “steal and reapply”! Or modify, or find one that fits you better. It took me a few years to find one that really felt right to me…. and I’m not saying it won’t change in the future, but it’s helping me right now feel like I’m living my best life.

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    1. I enjoyed making the tin-can art with you! Was my first foray into using mod-podge and I bought some. Havn’t used it yet… playing with other crafting stuff ATM. Would love to link up with you again.

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  8. It appears to me that you’re doing everything right! You’re amazing! That inner critic can be nasty, making us feel that we’re not enough or that we’re not doing enough. I acknowledge it, thank it and let it go .I say to myself that I am enough and that what I do is enough. Not always easy but I am persevering and it’s getting easier.

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    1. Yvonne – DITTO! I am persevering and it is getting easier. My other area in I’m not enough: Compare & Despair. But this post is really me telling myself I am enough – thanks for validating it!

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