An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. ~ Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
I decided to take the dog to the beach. The excursion was a brand new experience for me and for the dog, who has only been away from the house one time since she took up residence here, and that was to the groomer, with me beside her. Frankly, I don’t get out much anymore, either. Not for fun. Most of my excursions are in the form of grocery and hardware store shopping, trips required for the responsibility of maintaining the household.
The first thing I realized clearly was that I don’t know how to let go and have fun. Fun has always been a challenge to me. I have an overly-responsible nature that was helpful in youth and early in my writing career, but now, since my husband’s death and all responsibility of a house, an elderly mother, and pets and vehicles and often grandchildren have been shifted to me, I don’t even recognize fun. Before I could get myself to leave for a Sunday away, I had to go to the store for corn for the chickens and work on picking up the never-ending limbs in the yard from last week’s storm. I almost, at the last minute, considered just sitting on the porch.
Finally I got us away from the house and kept on until I found the beach area recommended to me. I had to drag first myself from the car and then the dog, who instantly tried to hide beneath the car. The best way was to get us both moving fast toward the beach. Our progress was halted by a person coming up the path. As I didn’t want to have to drag the dog, I veered off to chairs in the shade, where we sat for sometime, getting adjusted to wide-open spaces. When the dog realized nothing was about to get her, and I felt confident I wouldn’t have to carry her, we went ahead to the shore. The dog began to have fun at the edge of the water, and I began to laugh.
An hour later, on the way back to the car, the dog wagged her tail at children and didn’t try to disappear when she saw a car. On arriving home, the dog hopped easily from the rear seat. I believe she felt proud of herself, as I did. We’d gone and explored a new experience and seen new, beautiful and interesting and colorful sights. We had gotten out of our closed box.
Artist’s Dates, Julia Cameron calls them. I had forgotten all about them, didn’t remember until my eye fell on her book this morning, and I realized I’d had one in the trip to the beach, and it had been so very helpful. I had in the past discounted this idea of the artist date. Didn’t I have enough to do? Wasn’t I often out and about? Let me just sit and look at a magazine for color.
I see now the desperate need for fun in my life. I see a desperate need for me to learn what fun looks like to me–to let myself explore to find out. Fun is life-giving. It gives energy and perspective for creative invention and problem solving. Fun, I think, may be as necessary to life as water and air.
Have a lot of fun today.