One of the most frequently asked questions directed at children is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
As children, our answers may have been varied, but if you come from an Asian immigrant household, there’s a likely chance your parents had certain career paths in mind for you already: doctor or lawyer. And likewise, there were probably many careers that our parents wanted us to avoid at all costs; that is, anything in the creative arts.
Most parents are eager for their children to have a stable income, so it’s understandable that creative careers can be dismissed in favour of reliable jobs. But for immigrant families, there’s added pressure as there is a very real experience and fear of fighting to just survive.
However, life is filled with many opportunities and challenges that shape who we are and who we aspire to become. As immigrants or children of immigrants, you possess a unique perspective and a rich cultural heritage. Amidst the social and familial pressures of navigating a new culture, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of pursuing your creative interests.
It’s worth bearing in mind that creativity is not limited to only artistic endeavours and careers. Even as just a hobby, being creative helps is with thinking outside the box, solving problems innovatively, and expressing yourself authentically. By nurturing your creative side, you cultivate potential that can bring immense joy and fulfilment to your life.
Embracing your creative passions provides the opportunity for self-discovery. Engaging in creative pursuits allows you to delve deep into your thoughts and emotions, unveiling parts of yourself that may have been hidden or unexplored.
In particular, Asian cultures can be emotionally repressed and place little value on mental and emotional health. Whether it’s through painting, writing, or dance, you can use these outlets to discover new facets of your identity and gain a better understanding of your emotions.
Likewise, pursuing creative interests fosters personal growth and resilience. As you face the challenges and uncertainties of life, your creative pursuits become a safe haven where you can find solace and inspiration. They enable you to develop essential skills such as problem-solving, adaptability, and perseverance, which can help you in both personal and professional spheres.
In addition to personal development, creativity has the power to bridge cultural gaps and build connections. Immigrants often straddle two worlds, balancing their heritage with the culture of their adopted home. It’s common to feel like you don’t belong in either culture.
However, engaging in creative activities offers a platform for self-expression that doesn’t require language or cultural barriers, allowing you to express yourself in a way that can resonate with people from diverse backgrounds.
Most commonly, creative arts are viewed as consumable entertainment, however, entertainment itself should not be viewed as purely negative. After all, when we are bored or sad or lonely, we all turn to some form of creative outlets such as listening to music or watching a film.
Your unique perspective is a valuable asset in a rapidly changing global landscape. By harnessing your creativity, you can bring fresh ideas, innovative solutions, and a unique cultural perspective to the table. Creative thinking is the driving force behind entrepreneurship, technological advancements, and social change.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, pursuing creative passions brings joy and fulfillment to your life. In a world where you don’t need to fight just to survive each day, pursuing your interests is a privilege not everyone gets to enjoy, so make the most of it.