It’s been one year since I was standing in my backyard feeling utterly drained from two years of relentless sadness in my life. I shuffled around my yard evaluating all of the plants I’d let shrivel up and die over the previous two years and all of the brown patches of grass and mole holes that speckled the lawn. I noticed that even my house was the most blah color of brownish gray.
Everything felt so devoid of life and vitality. I felt so devoid of life and vitality.
Something inside of me rebelled at all of the lifeless blah in my life at that moment, and I thought to myself, “No wonder you’re depressed Deb. Look at you. In your pajamas at noon surrounded by dead plants and tired colors. How about you turn the water on the lawn and add a little color to your world?”
Within ten minutes I was driving to Home Depot where I bought three gallons of blue paint. Whatever they had on the discount shelf. I just needed color. I went to work for the next 48 hours adding color and life to my backyard.
I painted my gray house electric blue. I spray painted my garden pots and freshened up some yard art.
That was the moment things started to change for me.
Over the last year, I’ve continuously assigned myself projects to clean up the aftermath of checking out of life for two years, and with each project accomplished, something inside of me felt a little more alive again. Happiness has returned to my life, and it has felt wonderful to know that I can still feel joy as deep and joyful as ever.
This summer, after the highs of creating a new website and greeting cards and months in quarantined isolation, I could feel the tentacles of sadness reaching out for me again.
This is annoying to me. I’ve already done this. I want depression to be in the past, something I dealt with and conquered and now have all the tools to avoid it in the future. But, the truth is, sadness pops up every once in a while when I’m in between projects or haven’t seen other humans for weeks at a time.
Last week, when I could feel sadness lurking around the corner, I made myself a plan.
I decided to use the same strategy as last summer, but this time on the front of my house on the wall I see every day as I sit at my computer and look out the big window in front of me. I thought, “What if instead of a blah gray wall, I add some life and color to my daily view?”
I took myself back to the hardware store and bought a gallon of a cheerful chartreuse, the color of fresh leaves in the spring. I came home and put myself to work and, with the touch of a paintbrush, brought some fresh energy and new life to my front entryway.
Then, I decided it needed some art.
I found some cheap metal art on craigslist and spray painted them to add color and movement to the porch area.
I created myself a reminder that everything in life is art...what I do and how I dress and the way I love other people...the dreams I create and how I greet each new day. Our days and weeks are ours to create and to form into a life we love.
I’ve found this again and again in my life. Creativity shifts my mind from any lurking sadness with the simple reminder that I am the creator that holds the keys to my own happiness. If I need something to change to increase my happiness, it is my responsibility to change it.
This isn’t a one time thing. Again and again in life I will need to choose creativity and curiosity over sadness and monotony.
This is the magic of curiosity and the gift of intentionally living a creative life.
All the best to you this week,
And, if you are wondering, my house is now five different colors. I don’t mind in the least. I never see all the sides at the same time anyway.