It’s November, it’s my freshman year of college, it’s a city filled to the brim with culture and politics and art, I’m 18 years old… and I don’t feel inspired by anything. I was going to museums and spending time with art (something I loved and continue to love); I was making time for odd foods and obscure donuts and buying new books of poetry, and yet I didn’t feel creative or excited by what I was learning or doing.
By Christmas, I had emailed my high school adviser frantically, wondering how I could be in such a wonderful city and not feel inspired to write or create in the way that I once had – more importantly, in the way that I once had when I was living in a town with one Dunkin Donuts, one gas station, and a whole bunch of woods.
Is it really possible that I could have been more myself when there was less to do – is it possible that creativity, for me, stems from inspiring professors and the time to pursue poetry and photography, and not from more exciting surroundings? Is it possible that a small town in Connecticut could have offered me more than a big city?
I spent time wondering if the school that I had chosen was the right fit for me, or even if the type of school I had chosen was the right fit. I was wondering if it wasn’t even the school – had I chosen the wrong city? Was I doing the wrong things?
After all this time pondering what went wrong my first semester – and to be honest, probably most of my second semester too – I’ve decided that what you’re learning makes a difference; it is possible that sitting in 200 person lectures about stuff that doesn’t really excite you can affect the way you enjoy the things that do.
I’ve decided that for myself, creativity and feeling more Liv-like comes from spending more time with myself… something that is so difficult in college and dorm-like settings. It is possible that not spending enough time with yourself can take a toll on your general well-being (or reversely, not spending enough time with others), and it is vital to differentiate the time spent hanging out with people from the time spent by yourself, even if you enjoy both.
Even though I’ve been working crazy hours this summer and driving all around what feels like the eastern seaboard, I feel more myself than ever. I spend a section of my free 8 hours a day writing this blog, brainstorming ideas, or painting with watercolors on the back porch; it has been the time by myself and the time with my family that has made this summer (even a summer full of work!) so restful and most importantly, inspiring. I’ve learned that it’s best to feel inspired by where you are and what you’re doing – but the next best thing is chasing after that inspiration, whatever it is; ultimately, it’s okay to feel restless as long as you keep moving forward.