Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Ode To Creation

Bet you didn't see this one coming, eh? Ok, so I spent some time talking about the somewhat overlooked benefits of consumption, so I'm planning to spend some time today talking about the also somewhat overlooked benefits of creation. Then, having mastered this skill, I'm going to look on the internet for jobs in the field of "writing about somewhat overlooked benefits of things," or maybe just "odes to things."

I'm going to make a bold assumption here and say that pretty much everyone has created something they were proud of at some point in their lives. Maybe it was a drawing you made as a child. Or the first time you nailed a song in music class, on the instrument you were assigned (mine was the clarinet). Or maybe it wasn't even an artistic expression - it could easily have been a party, or night out with friends/family. Or the name you gave your pet that totally nails his personality and is not at all cliche (I hate cliche pet names - if we ever meet, do NOT tell me you own a "Fluffy," or an "Mr. Mittens"). Whatever it is, you know the feeling you got after everything finally came together. It's amazing, isn't it? There are very few things in life that match of feeling of a creation seen through to completion.

If every single nugget of an idea I had for a blog post, essay, story, sketch, game, app, or killer/sex robot was enough to bring said idea to life, then Create/Consume wouldn't even need to exist. It'd be no contest - I'd sit at home all day long, thinking of amazing ideas and just zapping them to life, probably without the need for any breaks. I'd already probably be a gazillionaire too. I just have so many great ideas you guys! It's that damn "1% inspiration, 99% perspiration" thing that gets me, and I imagine many of you as well. The idea comes with a burst of excitement - "think of how awesome it would be if I made this!" - then you realize the amount of work involved bringing that idea to life, and a little bit of that excitement goes away. But it doesn't have to - not if you keep your eye on the prize, and remember just how amazing it is to create something from nothing.

Relaxing is seriously great and all, but just as 'all work and no play make Jack a dull boy,' did you know that 'all play and no work make Jack a boy with an admittedly comfortable life, but not a whole lot to show for it?' And I should know too, as I kind of was that version of Jack throughout my 20's. I'm immensely proud of the work I've done over the past few years, and though it took a lot of discipline and getting through some serious self-doubt, I actually feel like a real, accomplished adult for the first time in my life. And I mean that in a good way (this is the reverse of the dreaded "adult-machine" I mentioned in my last post).

There's a reason I want to create more than I consume, and why I came up with this project in the first place. Consumption is certainly valuable for my mental health, but it can also be very near-sighted. Given the choice between working on something hard/time-consuming and just playing a fun game, my mind is always going to try to convince me the fun game is the way to go. In fact, I regret just saying what I did, as I see my brain repeating it back to me the next time I sit down to write ("don't you need to work on your mental health, Matt Shafeek?" Yes, I say my full name when I address myself). But without exception, whenever I finish the hard work involved for sake of creating, I never regret the time I spent on it. I never wish I could go back and slack off instead. Because I now have something tangible to show for my time.

I value my work, and I value my time, so I have to be diligent about how I manage it. Creating is in my blood, it satisfies me in a way nothing else quite does. Maybe someday people will be paying me to do it too. Wouldn't that be nice? Even though clearly, either way, I'll gonna keep doing what I'm doing.

So here's to taking that exciting new class. Here's to the hours lost ruining your dinner trying out a new recipe. Here's to finishing that big project you've been working on for weeks...nay, months now! Here's to that wonderful moment where you can lean back, look at your work, and just know what whether or not anyone ever sees or cares about what you made, something exists, right now, that wouldn't have otherwise existed without you.

Here's to the magic of CREATION, and to having it take over as much of our lives as possible!


PS: For those of you interested (I'm not going to do a big post about it), I finished September back on track. Here's some data/charts, presented without commentary (other than what I just said):