Article by Curry Zawa Kaoru
How not to let the urge to create rule your life
Are you asking me how I’ve grappled with my creative impulses? Just look at me: the poster child of what happens when you always give in to those urges. Really, all I can say to you is, "Glad you didn’t end up like me."
By my standards, you're not a social misfit at all.
A real misfit will moan about needing to write, while in the meantime they've practically welded a smartphone and Switch to each hand. This professional procrastinator won’t hit the hay early, but instead, zombie-walk to work.
And while panicking about looming deadlines, in a fleeting moment of what they call genius (which they'd never have if they had even a smidge of societal awareness), they think, "Why shouldn't I start writing now?" and pop open Microsoft Word at work.
Maybe they'll even fancy a little breather at some point, and open X for the browser. That's the cherry on top!
You're probably fuming at a genuine misfit like me now, but that burning sensation? That’s your hidden societal awareness and common sense.
Guard them. Cherish them.
Oh, and just to put your mind at ease: society gave me the boot a while ago. And by boot, I mean a dramatic, flames-and-all, cinematic exit. My social insurance and pension? Ashes in the wind, my friend. I'll say it again, glad you didn’t end up like me.
You, on the other hand, may space out at work from sleep deprivation or daydreaming about your favorite character, and occasionally spook your co-workers with your deep artist vibesーyou're not exactly what I'd call responsible. But unlike some, at least you're not slashing company profits. Instead, You're cutting down on your beauty sleep and resisting the urge to be a full-time desk napper, showing you still have a sense of duty.
The future's a mystery, but for now, you've got that life-work balance on lock
You've managed to snag the ultimate high-maintenance item we all know and love: a child. Known for possibly self-destructing the moment you look away for two seconds, yet you, being the stoic hero you are, still manage to create content once a year! Clearly, you've got a grip on juggling impulses with real life. You’ve got as much self-control as the next Joe.
But maybe your newfound key item (aka, the kiddo) is buffing your self-control stats.
Even after this can't-look-away phase of parenting, I hear that the wee one might suddenly demand help with a diorama that's due by tomorrow, keeping those adrenaline levels peaking. But who knows? Someday, when those little hands finally let go, you might have a breather.
And when that freedom comes, you might dive deep into manga, games, anime, and once again indulge in your art. And getting too absorbed is totally a possibility.
Lately, there are a ton of people diving back into creating after their kid sets off on their own. Some even meet their fated best boy and make their doujin debut in their fifties.
I get the occasional, "Is it okay to be this obsessed with fan work at my age?" query.
Well, if society's giving the stink eye to mature folks for projecting their 2D character fantasies onto paper, society's got the issue, not you.
But let's be real, if someone (otaku or not) is letting their hobby torpedo their life, icy stares are to be expected.
And, sad but true, the temperature of those stares does drop inversely with the age of the offender. Rumor has it, they might warm up past the age of 70, but once you hit 30? It's freezer mode.
Compared to younglings, middle-aged folks might lack in stamina and memory. Biologically, youth has the upper hand. But what the older generation lacks in brawn and brain, they make up for in XP.
That XP might not give you the agility to leap over traps, but it sure does let you spot a potential scam from a mile away. Like realizing, "Wait a sec, this isn't a date, it's a sales pitch! There are two dudes waiting inside that café!"
So, if you've looked back at your old self and branded it a social misfit, maybe keep that in mind when you dive back into your art. It'd be a real drag to have déjà vu regrets, wouldn’t it?
Don't indulge in hobbies that tank your self-esteem
On the pressing matter of self-control, do you think I'd be in this mess if I had that all figured out?
School, work, chores; there's always this mountain of "stuff to do, but meh". That's why hobbies are just so tantalizingly fun, and we can't help but get sucked in.
Once upon a time, instead of doing anything remotely productive like studying or working, I kept myself busy sketching my favorite characters in those alluring 45-degree bust-up angles. Fast forward to today, no one bats an eye even if I spend my entire day drawing: it's my job. Yet, ironically, I'm now fleeing from my art and diving head-first into X and Uma Musume.
There's a forbidden thrill in dodging responsibilities to do what you fancy: it's addictively delightful, akin to being high.
"Yo Curry, all your analogies are about weed and drugs"ーthat's our mantra here, and sadly, it's not far from the truth. The fleeting euphoria is great until you realize you've not ticked anything off your to-do list. Cue panic mode, self-loathing for yielding to temptations yet again, and the hangover? Brutal.
Unsurprisingly, people start to side-eye you, your trustworthiness goes down the drain, and you're on the brink of being a social outcast.
By the time you've lost it all and have all the time in the world for your hobbies, the magic is somehow gone.
But let's get one thing straight, there's a gaping difference between hobbies and drugs.
(Here I wanted to come up with some sort of pun but I gave up.)
No one ever said, "A post-work hit is so relaxing and healthy!", but with hobbies, that's kinda true.
Finishing tasks grants you a badge of accomplishment, and the freedom to do what you love thereafter is nothing short of liberating. No withdrawal symptoms of self-hatred here. Instead, you can pat yourself on the back, thinking, "Look at me, balancing work and hobbies like a pro!"
So, if you ever feel the itch to dive into your art amid work or chores, remind yourself that resisting now lets you truly savor it later. Dipping your toes when you can fully plunge in is such a waste.
Just watch, by evening I'll probably be wallowing in self-pity, mumbling about how "nobody loves me."
Life's supposed to be a century-long ride. Throughout, you may find yourself getting engrossed in various interests and then drifting away from them. There's only one constant in your life, and that's you. So, for heaven's sake, don't indulge in hobbies in ways that make you question your worth.