Why Wednesdays? – Why Creativity Counts #4: It’s Handy When You’re Cheap and Broke. Oh wait – Frugal! I meant Frugal!

A Note about This Feature:  Why Wednesdays is a Move Eat Create weekly feature determined to turn the mid-week doldrums upside down and celebrate things I love to do and blog about.  Currently, the focus is on creating and creativity.

Last week I talked about how creativity supports self-sufficiency.  Today I’d like to take that a step further.  I don’t know about all of you readers out there, but I will admit that I am a bit . . . thrifty these days.  I wasn’t always.  I used to spend money like mad.  I didn’t have that money, exactly, but I had little pieces of plastic and it’s remarkable how many retailers you can trick into thinking that plastic = money.

Fast forward a few years and things are a bit . . . different.  Without lamenting about all of my financial drama, let’s just say that I have learned some lessons.  I am now a much more frugal individual.  I buy what I need and sometimes what I want, but I spend thoughtfully and save wherever I can.

photo credit: Gerard Van der Leun via photopin cc

Connecting to my creative mind is such an ally to the new more prudent me.  Let’s face it, life is costly.  Eating well, enjoying various forms of entertainment, gift giving to those you care about, clothing one’s self appropriately, and paying for transportation to get through your days are just some of the ways in which just living can empty our pocketbooks.  Throw in a recessed economy, the need to think about future financial security and inflation and you can get a pretty grim, dull picture if you’re not careful.

Now my picture has, too, been grim and dull at times, but creativity has been able to liven things up a bit.  I’ve talked plenty on this blog about my love for running, knitting, and cooking – all endeavors that provide inexpensive entertainment – but it goes way beyond that.  My creative brain is saving money on holiday gifting this year by churning out some handmade items.  It frequently saves me money on transportation, by strategically planning shipping trips and errands in the most cost-effective way (Yes – successful strategic planning DOES take massive amounts of creative thinking); and it cuts my grocery bills by thinking about cost-effective ingredients in new, interesting ways.  You get the idea.

Thinking imaginatively can open up a whole world of ways to make your life a bit more affordable.  Mr. Move Eat Create and I were finally able to take a bit of a mini-break a few weeks to go visit his family in Michigan – something that seemed very out of reach financially.  However, by creatively planning and playing with travel dates, accommodation options, and entertainment ideas, et cetera, we were able to make it happen.

As I’ve mentioned before, I work in social services.  I can say, without hesitation, that some of the most creative people I have ever met are many of my clients – those living with little or no income.  There is something about survival that necessitates creativity, but many of them have taken it even beyond just surviving.  I have been amazingly impressed by the tactics, talents, and skills that many of my clients have drawn upon to put together gifts for their kids, for their friends, even for me.  (Don’t worry – I’m not accepting gifts from my clients unethically!  But, I’m also not rejecting a beautifully crafted handmade thank you card given to me with earnest appreciation and respect, either).

A wish that I have is that more of us would find and tap into our creative streaks in times beyond necessity.  Do it when you’re struggling and need to be inventive to survive, but do it again later, too.  Do it when you are beyond just surviving and when you’re your ready to manifest your ideas, try something different, plan out a helpful strategy, and save a few bucks!

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Previous Entries in This Series:

Why Creativity Counts #3:  Self-Sufficiency

Why Creativity Counts #2:  It Makes You Smarter

Why Creativity Counts #1:  Because It’s So Much More Than You May Think

Why Wednesdays? – Why I Run, Reason #3: Because I’m Able To

A Note About This Feature:  Why Wednesdays is a Move Eat Create weekly feature determined to turn the mid-week doldrums upside down and celebrate things I love to do and blog about.  Currently, the focus is on running

When I’m not blogging, running, cooking, or knitting, I’m working.  My regular gig is in the field of social services.  My first foray into this work was as a young intern, working on a program that helped match up socially isolated individuals living with HIV or AIDS with others for assistance and companionship. Then I worked for several incredible years as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and last year I shifted gears a bit to help provide services to elderly and disabled adults.

Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com

I love my work for many reason, but it is hard, hard work.  I will not delve into all the reasons why I love it and why it is hard, because that could be a whole other blog, but I will focus on one thing relevant here:  my ableness.  At the risk of sounding a bit sappy, the hundreds of women and men I have worked with over the years who have had their ableness compromised (by injury, by violence, by disease, by genetics, by random freak circumstance) have definitely made an impact on me.

This can, at times, make you (okay, me) feel a bit uncomfortable, too.  Anyone who has ever taken a few minutes to recognize their privilege in light of other’s lack of privilege has surely felt some discomfort in that.  But one thing I have come to realize is that trying to hide or deny the privileges I have is not helpful to anyone.  So I try to do the opposite.  I use my privileges for the good of myself and others.  I vote.  I advocate.  I debate.  I buy local.  I donate when I can.  I boycott when needed.

And I run.

You may be wondering how running fits in to all of this, but it really, truly does.  I run because I am able to and celebrating that seems appropriate.  I celebrate it for myself and for those whom I have met over the years.

I run thoughtfully for the artist that I spent an hour with while he showed me his paintings – beautiful, emotional pieces – and told me how he used to earn a living climbing ladders, jumping around stages, and painting props until a random infection left his hip unable to support those activities any longer.

I run through the streets for the women who got up each morning to start a work-out group in the courtyard of the shelter where they lived, the one place that they felt safe and able to do so.

I run hard for the former athletes who can’t anymore and I run with joy for the elderly who reminisce about their younger days.

I run passionately for the 20 year old that I was privileged to know for two weeks before the cancer won.

I run for myself – because I can and I am able to do so at this time in my life.  I haven’t always been able to say that and I may not always be able to in the future, but while I can, you better believe that I’m celebrating it.  And I’m pretty sure that the women and men I have met over the years would cheer me on as I do.