Life is Short, Be a Maker

We are born makers.  We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.

Brené Brown

Creativity has always eluded me.  I’ve never been much of an artist in the traditional sense.  Drawing, painting, photography…I admire them all, they just never came naturally to me.

At an early age, I tried my hand(s) at piano.  The teacher gave lessons from her basement.  I can still visualize descending her stairs toward a dank room surrounded by stacks of books and all manner of mildew-y objects.

I hated it.

My protesting must’ve been good for something because I can’t remember visiting too many times.  In hindsight, it would’ve been nice to find another teacher – I’d love to know something more than Chopsticks these days.

With the piano firmly in the rear view mirror, a new instrument came my way in the form of the french horn.  On the surface, it seemed a safe trade-off.  Playing the piano required weekly visits to the homes of weird old people.  The french horn, however, could be played from the comfort of my own bedroom.

How bad could it be?

Well, when playing outside with friends is the lifeblood of your existence as a ten-year-old, parent-mandated practice sessions are a cruel form of torture.  To make matters worse, I was required to rehearse for an hour each day while recording myself on cassette tape as an added accountability measure.  I’m not sure what was worse – my attitude or listening to the playback.

I moved to a new school without a band program in 6th grade, so the french horn went bye-bye.  It wasn’t until college that I picked up an instrument again – the guitar – which was voluntary.

Despite learning the guitar, I never saw myself as a musician or creative-type.  Creatives are free-spirits.  Right-brainers who saw things I never did.

Oh, how I envied them.

In recent years, I’ve been reminded how my gifts needn’t mirror others’.  The world would be far less colorful if everyone possessed the same gifts.

Last year, I started blogging which has gradually led to more writing opportunities.  And, I’ve found I really enjoy it.  I never set out to be a writer, but I’m slowly feeling a greater level of comfort.

You see, it isn’t so much the act of using words to form sentences that I find appealing.  It has much more to do with the act of creating something from nothing.  Pouring onto a different kind of canvas.

I’ve embraced the role of a maker.

What can you do to leave an imprint?  Whatever it is, it’s there for you – because it’s there for everyone.  What unique abilities do you have?  Maybe they’re obvious.  Or maybe they’re dormant.  Whatever they are, aim to discover and put them to use.  You’ll feel more alive.  Like you’re doing something you were designed to do.

Yes, you’ll put yourself out there.  You may even open yourself up to criticism by saying something.

Do it anyway.

I don’t know if I’ll ever write a book, but I’m open to the possibility – as grandiose an endeavor as that’s always seemed.  For now, I enjoy this simple medium.

500 words at a time.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

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