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Common Sense Creativity

Creativity is not merely an attribute of philosophers, scientists, or bearded sages. According to writer Maya Angelo, “We are all born with creativity, you can’t use it up because the more you use the more you have.” We are entering the third year under the onus of a world-wide pandemic and despite deprivation, we have survived and invented smart ways of coping although our lives have been forever changed. The virus has taken a dreadful human toll, but we’ve stood up to the beast and thanks to science and perseverance, we’ve managed to survive and are wiser and stronger for it.

Creativity’s first attribute, open to all, is robust curiosity. As soon as Covid’s initial shock wore off, with a vengeance we sought to try and understand the how, why, and fearful potential of it. To halt the virus’s spread, quarantine was established, and our mobility taken away. Interacting with others was declared off limits. We ventured forward in solitude and isolation. The old concept of the passage of time dictated by a 9-5 business or school schedule was out the window. People worked from home choosing hours that suited them. Midnight and noon merged. To leave the house, we covered the lower half of our faces with masks concealing facial expressions and muffling voices.

How do you think we regained zeal and passion for living if not for innate creativity? The artist Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage.” We stifled our naysaying, tradition-loving inner critic and shelved many of our old ways. If other people depended upon us, we had no choice but to devise a multitude of fresh plans almost by the hour, often spontaneously. Each age group had much to figure out. Outgoing, gregarious kids learned to play alone or with siblings. Mothers donned a variety of new hats from schoolteacher to activities director with surprise requirements cropping up often. By devising new work schedules, leisure activities formerly relegated to the weekend gained favor and were enjoyed almost as the mood struck. Open air venues, parks and green spaces were rediscovered and newly appreciated.

Each day continues to offer bizarre surprises and assaults making situations plucked, it seems from science fiction, a new challenge. We’ve proved, even if it’s just cobbling together a banquet from what’s in the cupboard or soothing a panic-stricken kid that through creative living, we’ll prevail and thrive. Albert Camus sums it up perfectly: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

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