One of the exercises in the first week of The Artist’s Way is to consider other life paths. If you could, just for fun, imagine five other lives you’d like to lead, what would they be?
Since I’m doing this with a group of friends, I wanted to know what everyone else would pick. I learned about them through their answers. These imaginary lives say a lot about our inner worlds, our joys, our hopes and dreams. I liked the exercise so much, and what I learned about each person, I asked another group of friends the question as well. One joked, “Is this the new Myers Briggs?”
The lives I initially blurted onto the page were novelist, photographer, philosopher, psychology researcher, and literature professor.
After I saw others’ lists, which included lives like seamstress, horse trainer, mechanic, campground owner, and musician, I realized how mind-based my list is – other than photography, there’s nothing material or interactive with the outside world. I stared into space as I considered this, my eyes resting on my garden. When I realized what I was looking at, I thought, duh. Horticulturist. I scratched out philosopher and replaced it. Then I thought of several Instagram accounts I delight in that involve arranging flowers in various ways (art, color, fashion, photography). One of my favorite books is The Language of Flowers. I scratched out psychology researcher and replaced it with flower arranger.
My revised list became novelist, photographer, horticulturist, flower arranger, and literature professor. That feels better.
As Julia Cameron reminds us in The Artist’s Way, the point of these lives is to have fun — potentially more fun than you’re having in the life you’re living now. Then came a part I wasn’t expecting: to pick one and do it for a week. This doesn’t mean change careers. It means that if I think being a photographer would be fun, then go take some photos. If I think being a novelist would be fun, then play with fiction. If I think flower arranging would be fun, then go to a florist, pick out some flowers, and arrange them. The point is to do the thing you think would be fun about that life. Do it now, from wherever you are, with whatever expertise you do or do not have.
One thought on “Other lives”
This is fantastic! You have inspired me to do this. It may even inspire a blog post. I like how you considered what your first impulses were and gave them some thought, tweaking it to reflect your true desires. Thank you for sharing this 🙂
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