Advantages Of Being A Middle-Aged Creative

Middle-aged sounds old, doesn’t it? But it generally covers any age from 45 to 65, the period before we drift into old age. And of course we may dislike the physical effects of this midlife aging, with some unwanted ‘spreading around the middle’ going on that you saw happening to other people but vowed would never happen to you. Right? And then there’s the dreaded ‘muffin tops’ making an appearance, and you suddenly realise how marvellously named they are as you’re tucking into your weekly blueberry muffin. And then it’s a cue for a stricter diet all round (pun accidental) and more exercise, which, shock and screaming horror, doesn’t seem to make one jot of a difference and you’re still trying to hang on to what you consider your absolute limit is with regard to clothing size, like someone hanging on the edge of a cliff by their finger nails over the sheer drop of larger sizes. But hey, take heart! Who knows how big you might have become if you hadn’t changed your diet and worked out more?

And there’s also the distinct possibility, especially for thinking and feeling creative types, who I believe are more in touch with their feelings, that you might just have to navigate a midlife crisis, as I have. Fodder for all those jokes where men are concerned, but nevertheless a significant event in one’s life, and of course it happens to women too. This occurs during what psychologist, James Hollis, calls the ‘second adulthood’ in his book Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up. When this second adulthood is triggered into being, you may question your work, your level of success or achievements, your personal values, your very identity as an artist. You may compare yourself painfully to others, and question all the other ‘stuff’ you’ve acquired from society and your upbringing, all the shoulds and should nots, all the learned behaviours. It’s where you find out just how destructive the ego can be, and where your buried-under-received-values self yells for change and finally may assert itself with unbridled urgency to kill off the old psychologically adapted you to make way for the you who was meant to be all along, the you that you may remember as a child. It’s a case of unlearning what you’ve adopted and seizing hold of what really matters, with new skills like self-acceptance to free you while you make new meaning for yourself. It’s a kind of rebirthing process, as you emerge all tender, exposed and new like a butterfly working its way out of a chrysalis to make a fresh start and appreciate the world anew, with more wisdom this time around. And you’re going to make sure you look after this real ‘you’ this time. And this is exactly why being middle aged just could be the best time of your life.

So here’s what I think the advantages are to being a middle-aged creative, especially if you’ve worked through a midlife transformation.

1. You appreciate the real friends and loved ones in your life with far more simplicity and genuine love, and because of this, although your work may have an important place in your life, it is not the only thing in life that drives you. In other words, you can be more relaxed about it, and this helps to keep it in perspective, which you need to do with the ebb and flow of the creative life.

2. You may have a new fascination with the world around you and more tolerance for others because you know how hard it is to be human sometimes. So you may have more compassion all round. This compassion is a giving instead of a taking, and so lends some karmic balance to your life.

3. You don’t have time or patience for putting up with neurotic behaviour from others, so you don’t get all tied up in their lives, which keeps your mind clear for creating. You can sort the wheat from the chaff in relation to your friends and acquaintances, to protect yourself from ‘psychic suckers’, as one of my friends calls them, and toxic people. You become much better at saying NO, and not paying any attention to old ought to’s and musts….

4. There’s a sense of transcendence in that you feel much less self-conscious, because you’re basically happy with your core self. There’s much less self questioning and analysis, because of there being so much less inner conflict.

5.You care far less what people think about you or your work, because you’ve been right into the beating heart of the destructive nature of this in the past. It’s a road to nowhere, and you now know it. Because of this you may be more willing to contribute your voice and your opinions calmly, without the emotional force building-up within making you mount your soap box to propound your passionately-held theories and stances.

6. It is easier to withstand all the ‘too much information’ out there on-line and all the ‘how to’ books, including aspects I listed in a previous post. Too much information can, quite frankly, stun you with all its stinging darts, and paralyse a creative person, especially in the writing world, where you can accumulate prickles of do’s and don’ts as numerous as the spines on a hedgehog. Why is it easier to withstand it when you’re older? Well, it might be just years of experience, where time was wasted going down rabbit holes and getting stuck, or it might be a bloody-mindedness born of the frustrations of earlier years now demanding some self-care, enabling you to curl up into a tight defensive ball until the hazards are out of sight and mind. In other words, you know how to protect yourself.

7. You increasingly realise that your art, the work you do, is absolutely your vocation, come what may. It becomes part of your self, part of your very identity. In this sense it’s a form of Maslow’s self actualisation, and if you’ve been through a midlife crisis, believe me, you’ve earned this, so enjoy it.

8. Being older means more experiences to drawn from. I’d never have become a writer as a younger person. I needed to experience life and go places and feel and think a good deal in order to channel it into writing.

9. There’s a trusting in the creative process born from experience that is truly liberating.

10. Because your time in this life seems more finite now, it may be easier to make decisions, to be less confused and tied in knots over considering too many options.

11. There is a greater appreciation of your own creative style and commitment to it. And you may be in a position to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

12.You can re-evaluate success. Success isn’t really about money and fame, it’s about being true to yourself and your creative life and living according to your personal values every single day. Yes, it takes practice, the materialistic notion  of success being so deeply entrenched in our western society, but with that practice, this re-evaluation can be so  emancipating.

13.You don’t need to worry about retiring – because retiring is irrelevant to a creative life.

14. You can hopefully enjoy some fruits of your labour

15. Making a positive out of a negative – the only disadvantage to being a middle-aged creative that I can think of, is that you are so keenly aware that even if you live another 30 years and stay healthy, you’ll still never get through all those creative projects buzzing around inside you. But who says you’d have managed to get through them all anyway, in only one lifetime?! And this fact, you can come to terms with and focus on what is really important to you.

Quotes about aging to keep you in a healthily creative mindset

It is possible at any age to discover a lifelong desire you never knew you had. (American operatic singer, Robert Brault)

No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby, or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical, or too selfish, or too silly to work on your creativity. (writer, Julia Cameron)

The secret of genius (I’ll let him off this time with the genius word!) is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm (writer, Aldous Huxley)

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. (writer and philosopher, Thoreau)

At twenty we worry about what others think of us; at forty we don’t care about what others think of us; at sixty we discover they haven’t been thinking about us at all.
(Author Unknown)

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming… suddenly you find – at the age of 50, say – that a whole new life has opened before you. (writer, Agatha Christie)

To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent…  that is to triumph over old age. (American writer, Thomas Bailey Aldritch)

Wishing you good health and plenty of ideas!

(pic from pixabay)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About lynnefisher

Writer and visual artist living in Scotland, INFJ type Writer's blog: lynnefisher.wordpress.com Art: lynnehenderson.co.uk Twitter @writeartblog Writers page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnefisherheadtoheadhearttoheart/ Artists page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnehendersonartist/
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21 Responses to Advantages Of Being A Middle-Aged Creative

  1. Excellent piece on aging. I’m 51, and still feel young at heart, although my body is telling me something entirely different.
    I also enjoyed the quotes at the end. Very well written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Hi there Beckie, so pleased you enjoyed it. I used to be able to run down the stairs fast, but those days are over! But like you, I feel very young at heart. The aspect I didn’t go into is the effects of the menopause and those shifting about hormone levels, which started for me around at around 52. But there are ways to minimise the symptoms…in the meantime I’m staying fit as much as I can! (Though it is all good material for a memoir I might write) Have a lovely day, Beckie.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve got you beat. I started menopause at 46. Between the hormones being all over the place , it had taken a toll because of my mental illness. It wasn’t until 50, did my system start to “somewhat” go back to normal.
        Heck, maybe we should both write a piece about that. LOL! Have a great day Sweetie!

        Like

      • lynnefisher says:

        Yes, you certainly beat me there. I’m glad you’re through it now, Beckie. I certainly attribute some of the roller coaster of emotions I had to the menopause. I’m not quite through it yet, but the rocky part seems to be behind me – here’s hoping anyway, because yes, it certainly can take its toll! It was all wrapped up in the midlife C for me, so If I write aobut the latter I can’t leave out the former. Have a lovely day yourself, Beckie!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A.P. says:

    “All round (pun accidental).” 🙂

    Like

  3. A.P. says:

    This is one of your better posts. Of the advantages you enumerate, I notice #1 and #2 happening already, though in the early-to-middle stages. #3 is something that in my life is instantiated by my unwillingness to further tolerate the intrusive prevalence of toxic vampires in my previous building at Friendship Square. Earlier in life, as you probably have perceived, I was forced by circumstance to have to engage with many similar sources of life-drainage. But there is no circumstance in my life today that mandates to keep company with such troublesome creatures.

    Perhaps I wax unkind. But this definitely has the effect of enhancing my appreciation of the many good and supportive people who remain in my midst today. #4 and #5 are also in motion, though my observance of #5 is intermittent. At times, when I find an unprecedented sense of calm and contentment in the course of persuading others of the value of my work, I credit it to the relaxation received as a result of recognition. Even the relatively random round of recognition thus far received has resulted in a sense of relief. Being as I have something of an audience now, I no longer have to try so hard to prove myself. There is less to be impatient about, so patience proceeds instead.

    I’ve only gotten to #5, and may comment after reading the rest. Thank you for this, Lynne.

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thanks Andy. Intermittent number 5 – yes, it’s a sticky one! I had to give up teaching my art classes, in part, because my buttons were getting triggered and I had to keep fighting to keep my objections and passionatly held beliefs at bay. Writing my novel helped get rid of some of this, because one chapter is all from the artist character’s point of view where I got to express my feelings and thinking – it is, needless to say, a long chapter! (which a traditional publisher would probably have wanted me to chop in half, and I’d have found that incredibly difficult). I also had to stop going to art exhibtions to cut down my comparing my work with others along with countless other factors that were riling me with their build up. I knew I’d got through it when I was finally able to go looking around a gallery or two with my artist friend, and when I had an exhibtion of my own last year. I’m not saying I’m fully functioning with number 5, but I’m very consciously working on it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A.P. says:

    I’ve read the rest now. The wording in #6 had me in stitches. But it’s so true. It’s a relief to have even a *little bit* less to prove. And all of this, Lynne — right on! I shared on FB and Twitter, with compliments.

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      Cheers Andy. Yes, I enjoyed expressing this one. As ‘toxic’ as number 5! There is sooo much (…) insert appropriate expletive here, of ‘how to’ information it can leave you reeling if you are the thorough and conscientious type. I’m careful about this with social media and have to be very conscious of not being dragged into feeling I’m not doing enough of this or that, I’m not selling myself properly etc. The writing field is unbelievably choked up with it all. A real minefield which demands a humerous image to keep in mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A.P. says:

    You’ll probably be glad to hear I got an awful lot of mileage out of this one yesterday. I read Nos. 1-7 aloud to my friend Nick and to my daughter Echo. Both of them commented on how well-written it is, and I must say, I’m impressed with how you are able to just lay it all on the line like that. You’re obviously very gifted — and I bet your visual Art is also good. (I think you have samples on your Twitter – I just haven’t gotten that far yet.)

    It can indeed be overwhelming – social media, continual input from other conscious entities, and so forth. I have noticed that if I am responding to a sense of “obligation” (i.e., I’ve GOT to read Lynne Fisher’s book; I’ve got to get to Gary’s book!!”) — it somehow doesn’t work. It only taints the authenticity with which I peruse the work of others. But when I allow myself to be *naturally drawn* to the works of like-minded Artists, everything is groovy.

    On that note, your having said that one of your chapters (a long chapter!) is from the Artist’s point of view is definitely a draw. Last week I ordered two other books for the Kindle (*The INFJ Writer,* and Blessed Are the Weird, by Lauren Sapala and Jacob Nordby, respectively, as we’ve discussed) – and I will probably have to beseech my new assistant for money out of the donations account to get a third. But I know I will do so, as intrigue increases.

    It does help to make lists, and there is also a huge new item therein. My daughter beseeched me to proofread all her University applications and also listen to all eleven songs of hers on her YouTube (in order to let her know which *two* of them I think she should perform at the Open Mike on Tuesday.) Maybe I will be “drawn” – at least 50/50 to her music. So far her instrumental work reminds me of her Dad and her singing, unfortunately, reminds me of her mother. Oh well, can’t have everything. 🙂

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      You have me laughing here with your last remarks. But thank you for being so engaged by the post. I think I’m able to be direct exactly because of the middle-age transitioning. In terms of my art, well there is a link in the about section, but for goodness sake don’t feel obliged to take a peak because I agree with you whole-heartedly about the ‘obligation’ pulls – I am very fussy about what I read, and I won’t be drawn to read books or buy artwork through a sense of feeling I should with a heavy weight of doing my duty. I did this recently (against my better judgment), reading someone else’s book, but they didn’t return the favour, so lesson learned now forever. I was drawn to Lauren and then to Jacob because of who they are as people and the they think and see the world, and that is what would pull me to read someone’s first novel. But hey, no pressure! ;>)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. galenpearl says:

    All that and even better in the “senior” stage at 65!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A.P. says:

    I’ve seen the link but just sort of assumed it would lead to a cost factor. If that’s not the case, then perhaps the perusal will promptly proceed. Yes I do enjoy levity, though not always with brevity. To cut to the core, I’m fairly convinced that in this post — especially No. 15 — and in prior previous posts past, you have been speaking directly to me. (Fancy that!) Cheers —

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      Yes, I see what you mean by that…not necessarily true but maybe it just proves these are common issues and problems. I’d thought of the last post before our recent communications but of course knew by the time I was writing it that it would probably relate to you! Cheers for now! (Whenever I get it’s and its wrong, I certainly think of you!;>)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Libby Sommer says:

    great post. i agree whole-heartedly 🙂

    Like

  9. lisakunk says:

    Lynne, you are talented and wise. A fabulous combination. I reblogged your 80-year-old self piece so I’ll hold off on this one as I don’t want to overwhelm my people. It is certainly worth reblogging, which I rarely ever do BTW. That should say much about these two pieces in my humble opinion.
    LisaKunk

    Liked by 1 person

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