When I was a child growing up, I loved creating things. I enjoyed drawing and coloring, tackling projects with vigor and zeal, reading books that were far too advanced for my age, and overall just loved anything that involved imagination. My creative thinking self was delighted with gifts like an easy bake oven and a make your own sticker machine. I was thrilled when I was old enough to use the oven alone and started exploring how to make boxed cake mixes taste like they were from scratch.
I was a thrifty little designer, using scraps of wrapping papers and small house trinkets to give as gifts while organizing small parties with the family and adorning the house with colorful paper chains made from construction paper and coordinating balloons that I so happily walked a few blocks to buy.
It was in middle school that I got my first taste of entrepreneurship. Neighbors who lived close by where my first employers and I did odd jobs like tending to rose bushes and gardens and assisting at baby showers and weekend brunches at the local bed and breakfast.
In eighth grade, the mini society was the highlight of my year. We designed our own paper currency and paired off to come up with crafts and foods to sell. A stroke of genius that included mini pudding cream pies, and hand spun milkshakes was my first claim to entrepreneurial success. It was a makeshift operation with gallon buckets of ice cream and jugs of milk sitting in ice baths with a mountain of instant pudding boxes, paper cups, and mini pie tins. It was messy, but it worked. Before the end of each market we sold out, finishing with globs of whipped cream in our hair and melted ice cream dripping down our arms.
Take just a moment to look back on your child self. What were you exploring around these tender ages? Think of the passion you had for life, the brightness of the world, the happiness of small wonders. Look at life now, do you still feel just as happy, just as eager?
As Muslims, we must be grateful for the many blessings we have been given, the physical ones and the economical ones, the spiritual and intellectual ones. While we often remember to thank Allah for blessings of food and shelter, good health and wealth we forget others such as creativity and passion, motivation and knowledge and we lose the overall zest for life that at one time, was second nature.
As we grow older and responsibilities increase, time seems to slip through our fingers. We find ourselves yearning for the moments when we can sit and rest and when the end of the day comes, we are exhausted and feel unaccomplished. We worry and fret over the next days burdens and normal tasks become daunting and monstrous.
I myself have experienced this, and a moment of clarity came by way of an ice cream truck and the sweet sloppy waves from my daughter to the other children who crowded around for their sweet treats. I thought about how carefree and creative I was as a child and how many talents have been in hibernation for far too long, ones yearning to stretch out and breathe, waiting to be freed.
I thought about my recent activities and ventures that unknowingly, have allowed me to tap into that seemingly long lost creativity. I realized that I have been using my skills and developing new ones to help sisters promote their creative selves, to increase their confidence and encourage them to keep striving to be creative for Allah masha allah. Concurrently, I was failing on myself. The most effective teacher is one who has mastered the art of a subject, I have been attempting to teach when I am still just a student myself.
We are often so eager to do good that we get lost and immersed in helping others achieve when we should be working just as hard to achieve for ourselves. We have to first invest in our self, otherwise we will eventually burn out and may start to feel bitter and underappreciated. There is nothing wrong with taking moments for yourself to explore your inner most desires, in fact I encourage you to feed your creative hunger. Don’t be selfish, be self-minded.
Creativity is powerful, Alhamdulillah. Creativity comes from Allah by way of passions, skills, and talents. Each of us has our own niche of interest, the ‘somethings’ that we are great at. The type of work that is not really work. It makes you so proud you beam at yourself, subhan allah! Finished projects leave you rejuvenated and excited, you feel as if your inner self has blossomed, you are happy and everyone around you can feel it.
Channel your inner child and allow it to help you expound on your expedition to creative entrepreneurship. Make time to flourish and earn for your family, do it for charity, or just do it for you. You will find that you will feel lighter, you will complete your tasks with ease, and will have more to give others by way of kindness, ideas, and time in shaa allah.
Pick something you love and get started, you might just surprise yourself with the results. Most importantly, do it halal and do it for Allah. Remember to thank Allah for all of your blessings by making use of the ones you may have forgotten about. In shaa allah, there will be much good in all that you do and your journey will be a creative one.
“And make not your own hands contribute to your destruction; but do good; for Allah loves those who do good.” [Quran 2:195]
Praying you will benefit.