The Tension Between Creating & Consuming

A young, sharp guy came into our office yesterday. He got hired as a freelancer to grab some photos and video of our coworking community.

He’s got a cool story. Graduated from college, went to work for a nonprofit for a couple years where he got to travel the world.

Then launched his own video production company. He’s been at it for 6-8 months now. He’s got a few clients, he’s covering his bills, and he’s creating cool content.

24-year-old. Making stuff happen.

On his way out, my old-school self gave him a business card. I asked him to reach out with his contact info.

He said, “are you on Instagram?”

“Uh, I used to be, but it’s a long story…”

Hoping it would go away awkwardly, he then asked me to tell it.

“Well…the short of it is I really had to ask myself if I wanted to be a creator or a consumer.”

I went into a bit more of the detail with him, he took my ancient piece of paper with my information on it, and he sent me a follow up email later that afternoon.

The encounter got me thinking.

I’m sure there’s some deficit in me, well actually, I think I can trace it to the gluttonous nature of being a Type 7 on the Enneagram.

But I really struggle with balance in the tension between creating and consuming.

For example, Brooke has been gone all week visiting her sister. So after a month of doing a damn good job of eating right and getting some boundaries back in terms of my health, know what I did last night?

Carb-loaded. Big time.

Bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Nachos. A bowl of cereal. Then a bigger bowl of ice cream to top it off.

That was over the course of several hours, but still, come on man.

Doing something to create health and happiness was tossed to the curb for the short-sighted comfort of consumption.

So when I lived my life through the lens on my iPhone, desperately hoping for the applause and admiration from the masses, I told myself I was creating.

But really, I was consuming.

Some people, like this 24-year-old kid, may be able to create and consume in the proportions that are healthy and beneficial.

But guys like me, I’m a sucker for the consumption.

And if I’m not careful, I’m 6 episodes into a Netflix series at 3am, crushing some M&M’s and neglecting the creation that is ready to be born the next morning.

There’s no magic pill here, I wish there was. It’s not black and white. It’s not either / or.

All good creators, consume to some level. And some consumers, create.

I just know, for me, that excessive consumption doesn’t produce the changes in my life that I desire.

It’s easier to consume, but when the alarm goes off or the lights come on or the bill comes due, I always wish I’d have created instead of consumed…

I’ll slip into consumption again, but I hope I’m quickly reminded of what I truly long to do:

  • Create relationships that are meaningful.
  • Create work that matters.
  • Create health that sustains.
  • Create a life worth living.
  • Create memories worth remembering.
  • Create love.

I don’t think the consumption path produces that kind of fruit…

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