Yesterday I read this amazing article by Jason Reid about how a week on a ventilator in ICU turned into one of the most creative periods in his life.
You have to read it! Go ahead. I’ll wait till you come back.
The article really got me thinking about what I would do in that situation. Would I have the ability to manage, even mentally thrive, under those restrictions?
About 3 hours after reading the article, during an afternoon thunderstorm, the power went out.
When the power first goes out, it’s always difficult to know what to do. Of course, it’s impossible to tell how long you’ll have to wait. Will it be back in 10 minutes? Will we be eating dinner by candle light?
One thing was for sure, seeing as I lived over 20 storeys high, I wasn’t leaving my apartment. (I have no problem going down that many stairs, but I sure don’t want to come back up that many.)
So I stayed in my apartment, turned off my computer in case I needed it later (I couldn’t work anyway seeing as there was no internet access) and found myself a snack.
Then I started getting excited. What a fantastic opportunity! Enforced writing time! I sat down on the sofa next to a window, pulled out my notebooks and started scribbling. The words came thick and fast. I couldn’t keep up.
An hour zoomed by.
Then, while I was in mid fervour, my air conditioner made a beeping noise. With sickening disappointment I realised the power was coming back on.
“No!” I wanted to scream. “Wait! It’s only been an hour. I haven’t done all the stuff I wanted to do!”
How quickly our perception of a situation can change. On a day when I’d been struggling to get things done and couldn’t focus my mind on something for more than 5 minutes, an enforced limitation turned me from an unproductive frustration into a fountain of words.
So, while I still don’t know how I would manage on a ventilator (no paper and pen!) I did have a demonstration of how limiting situations outside my control can be liberating and great opportunities for extra creative time.
I’m looking forward to the next outage! But first I must purchase a torch…
What about you? What kind of enforced limitations have you come across recently?
Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art