Sporty is way more sociable than I am. She’s a nice balance between introvert and extrovert, whereas I’m something of a cave bear. I like my own company more than that of others. A trait I inherited from my mother and one I’m working to improve. (It’s not going especially well.)
We first came across the concept of Artist Dates when we read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, while living in Toronto.
Designed to reconnect you with your creative self, Julia’s 12-week course includes a plethora of useful exercises. One of which is the Artist Date.
As we grow into adulthood our inner artist (the creative genius that resides within all of us) gets more and more neglected, sometimes to the point of being forgotten entirely.
The Artist Date is an opportunity for us to leave behind the everyday humdrum of shopping, cooking and washing dishes and rekindle our love of play.
How it Works
It’s just for you. You can’t invite along a friend, colleague, husband, wife or anyone else for that matter. You have to go by yourself.
Have fun. Leave the have-tos, shoulds and musts at home and go and have fun for a few hours. Watch a movie, go to a museum, read a book in the park, whatever appeals to you.
A strategy for pumping your life full of creativity offers a more in-depth explanation of the process and its benefits.
The idea of a relationship sabbatical came about when we realised that just like we need time alone to nurture our creative genius, so too do we need time alone to nurture our individuality.
Being in a couple is awesome, particularly if you really like one another. That said, it’s not healthy to be together all the time. There’s no room for growth and there’s certainly no opportunity to just let it all hang out, which, let’s face it, we all need from time to time.
The Extended Artist Date
We’re vigilant about going on our weekly Artist Dates, even more so now we live in such a tiny apartment. There’s no room to swing a hamster here (not that I would mind you, their little tails are too short), let alone a cat.
We also take turns at having home and out Artist Dates, because sometimes going to see a movie is fun and sometimes all you feel like doing is hanging out on the bed in your PJs reading Kindle samples and scoffing peanuts.
But every six months or so we indulge in the mother all Artists Dates, which also doubles as a mini relationship sabbatical. We book a hotel in the city and one of us goes there for the weekend, while the other stays home alone.
Rest, Relaxation and Restoration
These weekends are less about a break from the other than they are about taking time out from being in a couple. As much as being together is wonderful, it’s also really hard work. After all, there’s always someone else to consider.
I sound ungracious, mean even, but I’m really not. I love having Sporty in my life and I love doing stuff that makes her feel good.
But occasionally I want to not do anything. I want to not care that the fridge is empty or the washing isn’t done or the bed isn’t made. I want to watch Nigella reruns and eat junk food. I want to decide to go to movies and then change my mind and spend the afternoon writing instead.
Mostly, I just want some quiet, alone time. And so does Sporty (though maybe not quite as much).
Last weekend was one of those weekends. I stayed home (we flipped a coin) and Sporty lived the high life in a penthouse suite (they upgraded her, lucky sod) just up the road.
It was amazing and I loved every single minute of it. I also really enjoyed hanging out with my wife again when she got home on Sunday.
Oh the indescribable deliciousness of it all.
PS For the scribes and scribblers out there, this is a sure fire way to outsmart writer’s block and keep the ideas flowing!