What’s In the Boxes?

December 20, 2021 by Eileen Wirth

Looking for that next step up in your arts & entertainment career? In this column, Dr. Eileen Wirth shares everything she has learned about being a creative professional.


Sara, a friend who has paused her high-powered tech career to spend time with her toddler, lamented to me that she can’t stop making to-do lists.

“I still have to check all the boxes,” she said.

“What’s in those boxes?” I asked. “That’s what counts.”

Sara will never change her need to set goals and track her achievements, but there’s no need to fight the “boxes.” Just be sure that yours contribute to the rewarding life you seek. 

You can’t go wrong with these along with taking steps towards filling them:

  • Work (paid or unpaidthat feeds your soul and builds your future: What do you really want to do and what steps can you take now to get there?
  • Friendships/Loves that will sustain you in good times and bad: Have you built regularly spending time with your dearest friends into your schedule, whether it’s for coffee or karaoke?
  • Causes that motivate you to help make the world a better place: Search your soul for your passion and then take concrete steps to get involved.
  • Health for your body, mind and spirit: Are you exercising regularly and eating right? Meditating or praying? 

Dream big and expand your list of boxes to create your unique life mosaic. Identify your passions and check off small steps toward realizing them. You may never write a great novel or become a star, but you’ll find friendships in writing groups and community theater. 

Finally, if you want to be happy, do something for someone else just about every day. Email your grandma or tell your helpful grocery clerk how much you appreciate them. Small is fine. As the Prayer of St. Francis reminds us, it is in giving that we receive. 

Happy holidays!


Got a question or topic on creativity you would like Dr. Wirth to address for The Greenhouse Journal? Shoot her an email at EILEENWIRTH@creighton.edu.

Eileen Wirth

Dr. Eileen Wirth is a professor emeritus of journalism at Creighton University and is an author specializing in Omaha history. She was a reporter at the World-Herald and a PR Writer for Union Pacific before joining Creighton in 1991. Eileen’s books include The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, Historic Omaha Houses of Worship and From Society Page to Front Page. She is on the board of History Nebraska and a member of the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Women’s Journalism Hall of Fame, and the Omaha Press Club Hall of Fame. She also has been active in numerous groups particularly the Omaha Public Library.

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