Something I've learned
For a life of creativity and fulfillment, continually learning things is really, really important. I'm not saying this just because I'm a teacher; I know from personal experience (from before I was a teacher) what a difference learning makes to living a better life.

It was after my oldest daughter was born, when I had post-partum depression. I didn't know it at the time; my husband and I were both new parents and neither of us knew what was “normal” for that stage. It wasn't until my next one was born and I had a completely different experience afterwards, that I was able to look back and really understand how messed up I had been.


And I was a mess, for months. I wasn't to the point of endangering myself or my daughter (which was good), I kept us both reasonably clean, fed and clothed, but I didn't do anything more than those basics. Up until my daughter was born, I had been active in reading books, sewing and other needlework, some writing (though not much, yet, at that stage), and finding and learning interesting new things. For the last few months, that had mostly been about early childcare, breastfeeding, and so on.


After she was born, that all stopped. I didn't read anything. I didn't make anything. I wasn't learning anything. I didn't clean my house. All I really did was watch television, and occasionally change a dirty diaper.


It wasn't until months later, that I finally, one day, got tired of the television, turned it off and picked up a book. You know how a muscle feels when you haven't been doing any significant physical effort or stretching for years, and then you try to touch your toes? That uncomfortable stretching feeling was what my mind felt like. Something I should have been able to do with ease, I had to put effort into doing. I found that deeply disconcerting.


So I started reading again. And learning. Engaging my mind again and learning was what I really needed to move past the post-partum depression. Something very necessary, I think. And it was learning that fed my creativity.


Stepping back a bit, I can see that learning and creativity are very tightly linked, and not just for me, personally. Creativity is all about putting things together in new ways, and you can't put together what you don't know. And creativity and learning are also both about challenging yourself, about being open to new experiences and new ideas, and they both get better with practice.


So the thing I've learned is, always be learning something new, always challenge yourself, always be open. Or, at least as much as you can. It might be possible to be creative without these, but it's difficult. I can't do it. And I'm not really interested in a life without creativity. Or learning.