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Last week was my first full week of unemployment. Luckily, I was up North with my family and was mercifully distracted from this fact for much of the time. So no, it wasn’t my lack of direction/income that was stomping my soul to a fine dust beneath its relentless feet. It was the depressing, creativity-less life I had been leading for nearly a month.

Whenever I tried to write, I couldn’t. At home, I was very far away from my usual kindred spirits in the creativity department—those I analyze, obsess over, discuss, and lament about arts-related things among. Even books couldn’t really keep my attention.

On one of these dreadful creativity-less days, I found myself being led into the greenhouses behind our grocery store by my very excited mother. She had just redone her backyard and was eager to fill her flower beds and gardens.

I was half-tempted to stay in the car.

And after about ten minutes of slow meandering through the aisles I started making suggestions to help speed up the process.

Me: Let’s get this shrub. It’s prettier than this one.

Me: I like the coral coloured flowers. Get anything coral.

Me: You should plant an ENTIRE herb garden.

Mom: Those bushes grow too tall. Those flowers require shade. I don’t really use chives when I cook.

Me: Well… let’s start cooking with chives tonight!

Yup. In a few short minutes, and with what started as an attempt to get my mother out of the greenhouses more quickly, I started…well, enjoying myself.

We could have baked potatoes that very night with fresh chives from the garden sprinkled on top!

I seriously need to find a coral flower. Nothing’s prettier than coral flowers… just need the kind that isn’t so high maintenance…

Who was this enthusiastic person that inhabited my body and took over my voice and thoughts?

I found myself realizing that wandering around the green houses at my small-town grocers was literally the highlight of my last few days. And before I even realized what I was doing—or had the foresight to check myself—I heard myself offering to help plant the flowers the next day.

Seriously. Who said that?

Fast-forward twenty-four hours.

No, wait. WHO is that person in a backwards ball cap, ripped up sandals, and gardening gloves? That’s way more obscure, surely.

Me: No, we shouldn’t put the multi-coloured hollyhocks beside the pink hydrangeas, we should put them over here.hollyhocks-close-up1

For the record, I seriously had no idea what I was talking about.

Mom trusted me, was fooled by confidence, or simply knew I needed this outlet.

We spent almost the entire afternoon digging in the dirt, mentally landscaping the yard, and comparing colours. We even spontaneously jumped in the truck (dirt covers limbs and all) to run up to Walmart to get a few more wave petunias for under the maple tree. (Yes, I just wrote those words in an entirely non-ironic way).

And, basically, I had a freaking blast. Gardening.

The flowers obviously haven’t really bloomed yet, so only time will tell if I’m actually as hopeless at this stuff as I always imagined I would be.

Here it is, folks… the lesson you knew was coming! It wasn’t actually about the gardening that pumped up my enthusiasm—though I genuinely had fun doing that. It’s because it was creatively satisfying.

I guess my point is that when you thrive off of inspiration, you can’t really afford to be picky—especially when succumbing to the threatening weight of a bland, artless existence is the only alternative.

Plus, Mom was really excited. So, there’s that, too.

Remember that new leaf I turned over last week? Well, I’d like to add finding opportunities for creativity wherever I go and whatever I’m doing. Tonight I bought different vegetables than normal so that my salad could be pretty as well as tasty. Does that count?

You should try it, too!

-A

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