Sunday, December 21, 2008

Creativity and Thrift.

In my college years I had a girlfriend tell me, "You're not creative enough to be thrifty." We would get into arguments about whether it was better to make a thing, or just go buy it pre-made. She used stuff she had and made what she needed. She had a tremendous knack for it. If you have the skills, homemade cookies are much better than the ones in the plastic boxes in the bakery section. With enough negative thinking, you can convince yourself that you either don't have enough time or enough cooking skills to make better cookies than the bakery, and plunk down a few bucks for a few cookies. The reality is that you can acquire the time and skills. Cookie ingredients are cheap. Plus, you can make cookies over and over. Doing the cooking yourself is one way, and making money to just buy cookies is another means to the same end.

Now that we've proved that I'm hungry, here's a non-food example, if we were talking about decorating a room, she would head for the art supply store and spend what few dollars she had on paint and canvas. She'd buy an old picture frame at a garage sale. She would take an old crate out of the garbage, wrap it in cloth, take some tall dried grasses she picked from the roadside and arrange it in the top, and it looked amazing. I would get a part time job and go to Pottery Barn and get something cool with the money I made. She ended up with a conversation piece in her apartment while I had to remember to take the price tag off of my art, find time to hang or display whatever it was before I had to run back to work. The fact is, I didn't have the creative vision to stop by the road and pick tall grasses that might look decorative when dried.

Maybe it's still true that I'm not creative enough to be thrifty. I had never linked these two talents or virtues before she pointed it out. When money is tight, my creative side comes out. Necessity is the mother of invention? I think you just have to want something enough in this world of abundance to create it for yourself. I think that belief stems from the time I was chastised for not thinking creatively enough to not "waste money". Well, that's why she was an art major, and I got my degree in computer science.

No comments:

Post a Comment