Put Time for Creativity On Your Calendar–And Theirs!

By Patrick McNerthney 

The calendar is one of the worst inventions ever created. I remember when I was young, spry, free, and utterly irresponsible, I never even remotely considered using a calendar (digital or otherwise). Why would I plan out my life months in advance? That’s crazy! If I wanted to go out with a buddy on a Friday night, I’d just call him Thursday, say “meet ya there at 6,” and that was it, *boom,* good times to be had. No problemo!

Of course now that I’m an adult, if I want to do something with a buddy I have to (a.) check my work calendar (b.) check our “family” calendar (c.) check my “Stuff I Must do to Keep Our House From Collapsing” calendar and finally (d.) wait a week and a half, while my buddy does the same. Ugh.

(What gives here? Mine is never ever blank.) 

All that being said, I must admit having a calendar for creative work is actually helpful. In fact, NOT having a calendar as a young, spry, free, man is what allowed me to create absolutely…nothing. I’d just talk about an idea over drinks with my buddy, as if that was enough to scratch the itch. Then nothing would ever come of it.

Indeed, it takes a circle on the date of a calendar to get me properly motivated, a.k.a. “inspired.” In fact, if I circle M / T / W / TH / F and add a note that says, “write for 20 minutes,” guess what? I do it. 

THEN, what’s even BETTER is this: Iif I jump six months ahead, and circle a random date, then add another note that says “stop writing, publish whatever you got” … well Sir, I end up with a book. Or at least a small collection of essays possibly not worth throwing out. 

It’s the same as when my wife and I (well, really just my wife) marks a date on the calendar that says, “Bob and Linda dinner our house.” Magically, the day of the event, she tells me to clean the house (which I reluctantly do), go to the store (with a grocery list for what we’re making, which is always a surprise to me because I’m curiously never included in the decision-making), buy flowers for the table, fancy bev napkins and all that other hosting stuff. But: No date on calendar = No action.

(Okay it never looks like that but you get the idea.)

Over to you: if you find yourself lacking motivation as you seek to help your residents and loved ones, put an action item on your calendar. It’s a nice way to push yourself in the right direction, especially if you’re looking for effective ways to help your loved ones overcome the anxiety and depression they’re still experiencing. (And give yourself some grace for NEEDING motivation to do this generous, remarkable work in the first place! Goodness knows it’s not easy, and even the best of us run out of steam.) 

Might I suggest one easily actionable item you could put down for oh say Friday May 19th? Give Fine Art Miracles (FAM) a call or drop them a note so they can tell you how creative expression—that act of simply making—makes a huge difference in the lives of the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone needing help with life’s daily tasks. 

That’s right! It turns out Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions, and Art2Go Packages reconnect your residents and loved ones with their confidence, self-worth, sense of mastery, joy, and the belief that they MATTER. Which just happens to be the feelings they need to re-experience to overcome the pain of social isolation.

So what are you waiting for? Write it down on your calendar! (Or use the one on your phone if you’re all fancy and with-it, which I most definitely am not.) In the meantime I’ll tell FAM that you’ll be calling (or dropping that note).

Okay then. Looks like I’m due to: run to the store, take out the recycling, and finish the laundry. (Sigh…) I see it on the calendar, so that’s me today!



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