After The Changes: Life And The Creative Life

During the last few months I’ve kept thinking about this blog. I’ve been reprimanding myself for not having posted anything since last September. Haven’t I had plenty to talk about? Yes, as always. Haven’t I had the time? Well it does take a good chunk of time, but I could have made the effort. Haven’t I had the motivation or inclination – obviously not! And now, on a UK heat wave day, sitting inside the house to keep cool, it’s suddenly become urgent, bubbling up within me to write a post and fill the silence. And here I am. I’ve seen bloggers needing some space from posting letting their readers know. They decide on a time frame for themselves as to when they will resume and as a reader I’ve appreciated this and said so: catch up when you’re back, I say, have a good break’, thinking to myself good for them, and hey, it means the rest of us can feel validated in taking a break too. But somehow I couldn’t make this decision for myself. Too logical for me perhaps, too definitive, so I’ve left it drifting instead, like a directionless air balloon with no one guiding it…

On the plus side, at least for me, I don’t think I’ll ever puncture the balloon by deleting the site, because somehow it has become part of me, an important outlet and means of expression and connection with other creative people in the world. And that’s a valuable thing to me:>)

Anyway, let’s get going with after the changes I was waiting for, what life has been throwing at me, and where my creativity has fitted into this. Just my corner of the world here in the Scottish Borders, aside from all the other strife going on.

Reading over the last post of waiting for changes, the changes I was waiting for have happened:

My hubby has now adjusted to his reduced working hours and he’s working from home when he can. Work-based delegating has eased the pressure and stress on him. He’s yet to find some new pursuits but I guess you can’t force these things and his path is his, as mine is mine. He has been very much occupied with becoming ‘the primary care giver’ for our grey cat, Sasha, who’s been going through some changes of her own. Diagnosed with an enlarged heart, we thought we might be losing her, but with a twice daily tablet given by mouth on an empty stomach (just try giving a cat a tablet and ensuring it doesn’t eat afterwards when it roams free) she’s recovered from her lethargy brilliantly. Now she brings in her catches and kills to be ‘admired’ by her primary care giver who she adores, only to be confused when he either saves the still alive wee mousies or voles or sparrows, or seems intent on whisking away the generous feast. Her trials were not over however. One day, after she’d been out all night, she finally came indoors, trailing her tail behind her. On closer inspection there was a gash half way along rendering her unable to raise, flick, or swish her lovely tail. We have no idea how she got her tail trapped or bashed, but it was off to the vets and then off with her tail! Now she has a stump. But hey, she’s still fit and healthy, lean and stealthy in fact –her new nickname is ‘Battlecat’. So I’m thinking that maybe my hubby’s new pursuits might well be in the world of cats – something of no surprise to me whatever.

My sister, who was living with my mother during acute covid times while her divorce went through and while she found her own house, is well settled in her new abode, together with Harley, her two year old, muscle-bound Staffordshire bull terrier. This home making stirred up a passion for interior design in both of us and pictures of prospective sofas, chairs, and decorative artefacts flew back and forth across WhatsApp replacing the house for sale links which had previously held sway.

My mother has adjusted back into living on her own in her own space again, which she loves. Word searches, jigsaw puzzles, and quiz shows occupy her time. Her short term memory and cognitive problems are still an issue but on the whole she’s doing okay, having just turned 84 the other day. The bungalow she lives in has been refreshed with some new wall colours and her garden has been saved from the weeds – well just about!

As for me: I have been doing what I was waiting for, being there for these 3 family members and helping as much as possible. I’ve also learned some new skills, like applying for attendance allowance (believe me, no mean feat!) and a disabled blue badge to help with Mum’s mobility issues when shopping or parking at medical appointment venues. I’ve been developing patience, forbearance, and acceptance – so much acceptance. There have been doctors appointments, or should I say phone calls –  just try getting a face to face visit these days. There have been tests, and lots of worries to address. Saying my mother worries a lot is an understatement, a gross miscarriage of justice 😉 I’ve been doing more town driving with multi-lane roundabouts – hitting the road with my modern country music giving me the right kind of vibe and keeping me upbeat in the right zone. I’ve been learning I can still sort a garden out even if my lower back complains or if my joints feel like they need oiling. And, as I intended, I’ve been embracing these kinds of transformational changes and tasks fully, working with what feels right or best at a particular time, for me, or for my family members. I suppose in short, it has been a success.

But this all said, I think I feel moved to post today, because I’m ready for some perspective on me and my creative life. I’m sitting here with a sensitive tooth which because it’s a root filling, only just done in March mind you, will probably have to be extracted. Well that’s what I wanted in the first place. Bring it on. And I’ve got a sore foot. No cure. Just wait for the joint to fuse then the pain will cease, says the podiatrist. Well, bring that on too! And for months now, a sore lower back/butt. The physio on the phone, after the ‘fast track referral’ wasn’t sure where the origin of the trouble is. Well how could she be sure without doing a physical exam? Just do the exercises I’ll send you a link to, she says. I think I’ll try a chiropractor my sister’s been visiting in Durham instead. Combine it with a Mum visit.

Life-wise, I turned 60 in February. Friends who I share this fabulous number of living years with have been saying now is the time to follow our passions, list what we still want to do in life and go for it! But they’ve also been drawing attention to their back pain, foot problems, the physical wear and tear of life, not being able to do what they used to do with energy and ease. Not being able to get up from a squat without holding onto something to push themselves up. Oh, the shame! The brain is willing, but the muscles don’t seem to get the message. All this inevitable aging is kicking in. And it’s a case of me too despite trying to hold onto my youth. And then there’s looking after elderly relatives at the same time as trying to look after yourself. The phone calls from a GP about your mother, or your mother herself full of worry. One worry after another. So, grabbing life by the horns at 60 is not so straight forward. Go hiking in Arizona? Yeah, but you’ll need decent boots with plenty of cushioning support and orthotics in, you’ll need anti-inflammatory meds, and there’s no way you can carry a backpack! And you’d have to make sure your mother gets her shopping delivery. Just thank God you’ve got a sister who can see to your mother or there’s no way you could even imagine just going off to do your own thing.

So there is all this and the need for some new perspective at this middle age stage in life. A way to navigate the divided responsibilities you’ve taken on for others, as well the responsibility you owe to yourself. Personally, I never really knew how this would work out. Especially for my painting and writing – my creative life. They both slowed down while I was waiting for the life changes, but they are going at a snail’s pace these days. I imagined they would be a relaxing outlet, a personal focus to return to as a way of nurturing myself. When I sit down to do them, this does happen. The creative flow is there to dip into. It’s the sitting down to do it in the first place that’s the problem. And the self reproaching that goes on too! Finding the right balance for one’s creative life is always a challenge, but with too many life’s necessities and responsibilties pulling at you, it’s only inevitable that you can’t find the right head and heart space that you yearn for. Awareness is at least something we can work with. That and to be kind to oneself.

I’ll share my latest painting here with you: ‘Frosted Flora’, acrylic on canvas.

And at least I’ve almost reached the point of commencing with Part 5 of my WIP novel  – there are five parts, so the end is just about in sight and I love it so far. It’s working title is ‘Midlifers: Rethinking Happy Ever After’.

And on that note, I wish you well if you’re still out there in blogging or blog-reading land. Stay safe, well, and happy. Let me know how you are doing :>)

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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10 Responses to After The Changes: Life And The Creative Life

  1. galenpearl says:

    Hi Lynne! I was just cruising around waiting for the timer on the oven to ding, and checked back to your blog, not expecting to find anything. So happy to be wrong! Loved catching up on your news. Happy belated birthday turning 60. I hit 70 in January. I will tell you from my own perspective that 70 is the best year yet. I’m looking forward to this decade!

    I’m sorry to hear about the pains and ailments. I’m not sure how I’ve avoided most of that. Yes, I’ve slowed down, but I’m still relatively limber and fit and most all the time pain free. I probably should thank my parents for some good genes, and I think my taiji/qigong practice helps too.

    Love this painting — so whimsical. It draws me in with fantasy visions and delight.

    I published a new book in March, and I’m working on another. After 10 years since my first book, I’m sort of surprised at my motivation to publish. However, I work at my own pace, which means not very diligent and easily distracted by other things. I’ve been spending a lot of time with family this summer. In fact my grandkids are here today hanging out while their mom takes care of some errands and things.

    The No Way Cafe is rolling along — 14 people in the group this session (that’s 4 new folks). I’m eager to see how the dynamic evolves with a bigger group and new folks.

    That’s about it for me. So glad you posted an update. I always enjoy knowing what you’re up to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Hi Galen! Great to hear from you and thank you for your update. Hopefully when I get to 70 I will have worked through most of the ailments people seem to get at least once! I’ve got sciatica now, checked on facebook to see if local facebook friends could direct me to an osteopath, and was duly rewarded with an excellent lead, but was also rather shocked how many had had it! Good going with the third book. Due diligence can be hard to muster with other life things commanding or needing attention, but you’ll get there for sure. Great to hear about the group going well. Cheers for checking up on me! and take care :>)

      Like

  2. Lynne! So good to hear from you at last. No need for guilt, as I stopped regular posts some time ago. Two reasons: it takes time away from my novels, and too many writers are all sharing the same stuff over and over, trying to get readers. The way I figure it, my silence is golden, and for a number of reasons! Do I have things I would like to share? Sure, but my time is better spent producing something that lasts beyond a one-and-done post.

    I’ve surpassed the 60 mark myself, so I understand how you feel about being betrayed by your own body! I’ve been struggling with some physical issues for the last year or so, leaving me tired, foggy-headed, and discouraged (no, not COVID). After a very long eight-month process, my current MS is finally complete, and will be sent to my beta readers this week. Hoping to publish in August! In May, one of my beta readers (and a dear friend) passed away suddenly, and I despair of finding someone as astute to take his place. His loss still hurts.

    I’m glad to hear you have accomplished much of what you set out to do regarding family. More than ever, we need each other in this crazy, messed-up world. It was encouraging to know you haven’t given up your creative pursuits altogether, as I always looked forward to seeing what you’d been working on. I consider you one of those other creative people in the world that I connect with, so even with a simple post, you are making a difference. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Hi Alexander, how good to hear from you! And thank you for sharing your feelings and reasons about infrequent blogging, about the 60 mark and about our bodies betraying us! So sorry your friend has passed away. This in another thing which we come up against more as we age. At the moment, a 92 year old blind man friend has been in hospital for over three weeks. Despite his age he has this quality of being able to keep going as if he’s twenty years younger. On a recent visit I realised how much he supports me in his own way, what a miss in my life he will be when he does die. So I can empathise. Dave is very fragile, but he might still pull through if his will has anything to do with it. Here’s hoping!

      Good luck with your current MS. It sounds to me like you’ve kept up a good writing pace even if it doesn’t feel like it. You are doing fabulously. With mine, when it’s finished, I’m going to try one last time to get an agent, then if that bombs as usual, just up my output and keep the process simpler for myself from here on in. Shorter novels for a start!

      Yes, we do need family and friends in this messed up world. We also need our creativity. I’ll never give my arts up even if I slow down sometimes. There is too much inside me still to express. I’ve been doing masses of reading and masses of crochet. Just started experimenting with scratchboard (black coated board, scraped back to the white with thin or thick lines and shapes)

      Thank you for saying my post makes a difference to you. That’s so good to hear. Honestly! Your reply very much makes a difference to me too! Hugs back, and take care :>)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, don’t I understand completely! I’m glad to hear from you. Sorry about all the interruptions, or what we call life;) You’ll get back to it when you get back to it. These days are strange and stressful, so self care is extra important. I love the artwork you shared. The nigella seeds are exquisite. Take good care. I hope the dental work and pains are resolved soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Oh hi there, Cheryl! I was thinking of you the other day, wondering how you are getting on in your new direction. I just haven’t had time to read through my favourite blogs. Thank you for the compliment – I loved doing the nigella in a more stylised way than botanical. Here we go again, me thinks, with the dental stuff. The phone line is currently jammed for getting through – another sign of the times here. Luckily, I have a routine app tomorrow! Take care of you :>)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bryan Wagner says:

    I had finished posting a blog about the value of not forcing ourselves and the value of waiting patiently if possible (Patience is not one of my strongest attributes), and I appreciate what you wrote and your perspective. Happy to hear your voice. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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