Confined Creativity

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I have a brother who is twelve years old, and like any typical twelve year old, he spends all his time playing video games, watching TV and annoying me. I remember asking him what he wanted to be when he grows up once- about five years ago- and he promptly told me that he would be a super-hero. When I ask him the same question now, he confidently says,”Either a game designer. Or a professional cricket player.” And I believe that maybe when I ask him the same question five years from now, he will tell me that he wants to become an engineer. Or some other mundane, safe career like that. Of course his bank balance will see some action. But where’s the fun in that? The adventure? The stories to inspire his own children? They say, throw a stone at random and the chances are that it will hit an engineer. And there is no doubt about this. Every second person is one of them.

In another instance, I asked my cousin the same question today. Being seventeen, she is about to make this decision herself. I have asked her this before and her answer has always been the same. It is today, what it was even three years back. I don’t know whether to applaud her on her keen sense of decision making or bang my head against the wall in frustration. YES, ladies and gentlemen. She wants to be an….. ENGINEER!

And then I begin to wonder what the world will do with about 4 billion engineers. There are after all only so many technical problems to solve. What is the fun in living like that anyway? You spend roughly four years getting your degree. Then you get a fancy job from the campus recruitment, usually. Earn some money. Marry an engineer/bank manager/doctor (yes, those are your only options). Earn some more money. Have two kids. Earn more money. Spend all this money to buy a house, on education, insurance policies, vacations, etc etc etc…. marry off your kids… work work work and finally retire. At the age of 65, your life FINALLY begins. But by now you have arthritis or diabetes or some other problem. Hence, you buy two rocking chairs and all the newspapers in town and spend every single day in pretty much the same way, reading newspaper, drinking coffee and rocking away!

Where’s the excitement?
“Oh hi honey. I’m home! You know what happened at work today? A server crashed. And I fixed it. Woohoo!”

Where’s the risk?
“Guess what? I decided to take an extra hour off during lunch today! What an adrenaline rush!”

Where’s the fun?
“I sat and typed out twenty different codes today. And now my wrist hurts, my back aches and I’m pretty sure my eyesight is going to the dogs. But I like the noise when I type.”

Oh. And most importantly. Where’s the time to… live?
“I have a holiday tomorrow. Which means I have to work only from nine to four! YESS!”

See. This is what I’m talking about.

I’m saying ‘engineer’. But it could refer to any other such career, requiring only a degree and a willingness to give up your life.
Yes, it is safe. If you get fired today, you’re likely to find a pretty decent opening very soon.
Yes, it’ll give you financial security. Your pay hikes will come faster than those mounting expenses.

But the real question is, will it make you happy?

All I’m saying is, don’t confine creativity. Don’t be afraid to dream. Dare to do something different.

Make mistakes. Crazy ones. But be happy.

If you really want to do something, whatever it is,  give it your best shot and do it. You can never be bad at doing something you love because you will end up giving it all you’ve got. If you want to become a painter, dancer or writer, then do just that. Don’t waste your life sitting in a cubicle, doing something you don’t love, enjoy or aren’t good at. Because, you might never be happy.

I’m sure that if you’re doing something for ‘the heck of it’ or because ‘it’s what everyone is doing’, then someday, you will wake up miserable and you will think back on those days when you dreamt of being a… An astronaut or  a writer or maybe even… a superhero? Then the realization hits you. Your dreams have died. The child within you is buried so deep inside that you cannot even feel its presence. It is probably the most terrifying feeling. Like something within you has died.

So wake up before it’s too late. And let your creative juices flow. Do whatever you’ve always dreamed of doing.

And even after all of this, if you still want to be an engineer, then go ahead!

I, for one, am taking the unconventional road. I might never be ‘The Richest Woman on Earth’, but I will find happiness.

Because I refuse to bury my dreams.
Because I refuse to kill the child in me.

Because I refuse to confine creativity. 

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