Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 by Ronald Eijkman

In my previous post I was talking about the creativity needed to see a castle and a moat in a rectangular shape with a line underneath, as depicted in a fictional retro game. As a kid, I didn’t have any problems seeing the castle and the moat. And therefore thoroughly enjoyed playing these games. 30 years later, that’s different.

I don’t see that castle with its moat, or at least have trouble seeing it, perhaps by a lack of creativity. And my question is why. In general I can say my creativity seems to have decreased in the last decades. Once I created chip tune-ish musical master pieces with music trackers, wrote poetry and proze, had philosophical debates with friends until sunrise and created digital artworks. Today, I only write some stuff occasionaly. For all the other stuff there’s no time. At least, so it seems.

Of course there’s time! But I need to organize my time and choose in advance what to do with it. In the past, I had nothing to do other than going to school and do some home work. No need for planning. School was also a place where new ideas came to me almost unnoticably. Talking to lots of different people, run into lots of different ways to look at things. Bored most of the time when not at school, I just started to compose, write, talk. Lots of time, no pressure. Tinkering for hours until I got into a flow and created great stuff. Today, tinkering as long as I feel like it seems difficult with all those obligations.

Work is one of them. When you’re working, it’s easy to stay working for years, for the same company. Forty hours a week or more. In the beginning, you learn lots of new things. After 3 years you’ll probably know how things work. And before you know it, you’re on automatic pilot and celebrating your first anniversary. That’s a creativity killer. For me it’s almost a blessing that the company I currently work for is offering me a settlement due to reorganization. Of course, the older you get, the harder it is to get a job with matching payment. Especially when you’re not into the management business. But it’s important to make sure your job is fun, stays fun and keeps you motivated to learn new things. If it doesn’t, look out for something new or different.

Sleep is another mandatory activity. That’s a tricky one. Sleep less, and you’ll have more time to do things, but you’ll be more tired thus less fresh and efficient, and most likely less creative. Sleep more, and things will work the other way around. Until you sleep too much and get lazy, and most likely less creative. It’s important to find the right balance.

When not obligated to do things, I tend to entertain myself with useless activities, such as watching TV series or playing games for hours. Did I mention there’s no time for writing, composing, arts? Skipping aforementioned pointless activities, there’s lots of time. Of course, we need to relax from time to time. Clear our heads. Doing sports and reading books is excellent for that. Watching TV and playing games for an excessive amount of time is not.

Aside from all this, I still tend to think that everyone experiences a creativity peak somewhere in their early 20s. This is most obvious in the music industry. But also most brilliant scientists contrive their magna opera when they’re relatively young. As an old fart, I find myself rambling quite a lot to people in their 20s: do what you like, expand on that and take it seriously!

Overall I pretty much have an idea where my own creativity went. Lost in my 20s. Right. Well, mainly it just got stuck in rut.