A few weeks before my 40th birthday,
I burned it all down.
I had climbed the corporate ladder for nearly two decades, starting as a digital strategist for a Fortune 500 company at age 24.
But now that I had left corporate and ditched the title, salary, and career track . . . there was no ladder to climb, no next steps to follow.
I looked to the countless resources marketed toward women in their “burn-it-down” stage.
(It says something, doesn’t it, that there’s an entire industry geared toward us: the women who have done it all, checked all the boxes, and still wonder—is this all there is?)
But despite the endless choices of books and coaching programs, nothing seemed to fit.
I wasn’t going to eat, pray, or love my way through.
I wouldn’t be thanking the items in my closet before I gave them away so I could bask in a pristinely minimalist home. (More perfectionism? No, thanks.)
I couldn’t have manifested anything—even if I had a clue what I wanted in the first place.
I had spent years guiding large organizations through digital transformations.
Now, I was faced with creating my own personal transformation.
Meanwhile, my preschool daughter came home each day with piles of artwork she created—collages, paintings, coloring sheets, sculptures.
At home, I watched her mix paints, spreading the colors with her hands . . . just to see what would happen.
She never questioned whether she should.
She simply wondered, experimented, and gleefully giggled at the outcome.
Day after day, I observed her natural curiosity and the magical joy she seemed to generate as she played.
And I realized . . .
We’re all born creative.
It’s innately human to invent, engineer, and create.
We come into the world with a sense of wonder and the confidence to simply try things.
But over the years, we lose that curiosity, the ability to question and experiment—to play.
For a long time, I held onto my sense of creation as I studied Arabic at UVA and Harvard.
I delighted in the loops and dots of the language, relishing how just one dot out of place could change the meaning of an entire sentence.
But somewhere along the line, through the years of projects and promotions and raising my family . . . I lost that part of myself.
Observing my daughter’s uninhibited play inspired me to explore creating “just because.”
And I’m so glad I did.
What I found as I explored was far more than I expected.
I had hoped to fill the hole in the center of my soul and dull the constant ache that came from believing that there was more to life—but not knowing exactly what I was missing, or how to find it.
What I found was so much more.
Beyond happiness, beyond joy, I found myself, buried under half a lifetime of accomplishment.
Through my own exploration, as well as the experiences of my clients, I’ve found that Creative Play is the way to recall our sense of wonder, experience freedom, and revel in the joy that comes from creating like we did when we were kids.
Creative Play is what can bring you back.
Back to the present, back to yourself, back to feeling inspired and alive.
Creative Play brings back your spark.
Ready to feel the spark?
More about Julie
- Interviewed on American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast
- Illustrator of Ravaging Rio and the Ghost in the Library
- Featured in The Quilt Life Magazine (2013) and Quilter’s Newsletter (2010 + 2011)