When hearing the term, a “creative life,” what sort of life comes to your mind? A life full of artistic activities? A life with innovative ideas? A life with new and exciting events?
Perhaps all those lives can be
creative, and some people are very talented in those things. However, is a creative life impossible for those who are not very talented in these specific areas?
There is a Japanese movie, Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers
(2005), directed by Satoshi Miki. It is
a story about an ordinary housewife, called Suzume. Her name means a sparrow in Japanese, i.e. one of
the most common wild birds. Her life is
a typical ordinary featureless life with everything “so-so” – that means
things are OK but there is nothing particularly interesting or very special. She looks common, and does everything just
on the average level. She is bored and feels
that she is invisible in the world.
One day she happens to find a
tiny advertisement on a railing of steep steps in the neighbourhood, saying, “A
Spy Wanted.” She takes the chance and
goes to an interview. The advertisers like
her because she is so ordinary. They tell her that she has to look and behave as ordinarily
as a person can possibly do in order to be a spy, because a spy should look most common, so that most featureless, to stay invisible to
others’ eyes. It makes her start thinking
how to be “ordinary” in an active and conscious way.
She tries to buy “ordinary” groceries and to drive a car as an “ordinary”
driver. Eventually she finds it skillful and full of
adventure to be “ordinary.” This change
of her attitude makes her ordinary life extraordinary, and consequently she finds her being purposeful and independent.
Suzume keeps living her
ordinary life after being a spy, but the meaning of her ordinariness is
different from what it was at the beginning of the story. Being ordinary becomes something special and unique when
she finds a meaning in it.
I think this story is very suggestive when thinking about a creative life. Creativity is a gift everyone has which makes it possible to find potentials and meanings in anything we encounter and experience. A creative life does not necessarily mean anything interesting or spectacular to
others, but living one’s life actively and consciously in a way one finds it meaningful to oneself.
(* This article is published in Personal-Development.Com Newsletter issued on 18 September 2013. Thank you!)