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SPREAD 13 – THE CREATIVITY OF AGE
It’s a myth that all creative life stops at the age of 45. Humans are hampered only by how they see themselves and individuals, such as Picasso, have carried on ‘creating’ until they died. Staying on top of the same skill and thought processes for an entire lifetime is a huge feat since it means grappling with the not inconsiderable ‘boredom’ factor. But thousands of people manage it and thousands more develop new careers in later life.
Mid-life change is a concept that has expanded fruitfully for the past two decades. Prior to that, people did not expect to change their working and/or creative life, during a lifetime, and retirement was a rest period for those lucky enough to be able to afford it. Hobbies were reserved for retirement and the word itself conjures up a dead-weight of time to be filled.
But the mid-life change notion is something that to be embroidered upon and enlarged, especially when the workplace offers less and less employment. But why does change always have to be at mid-life? What about earlier or later-life changes? What holds men and women back from changing at naturallifetime transitions? What are the best skills to build on? Can we truly create something enduring in the latter years?
FOUNDATIONS OF CHANGE
One of the factors that helps people develop creatively when older is if they have already put in the foundations for development to earlier years; (it is harder to learn something completely new when older although it is still possible). Building on something that already has roots, is far easier. If, as a child, you spoke more than one language, but that second language has been forgotten, as an adult, you will find it easier to re-learn than go for a new language from scratch. So develop several strings to your bow as life goes by. It’s not time wasted but time invested. One day, there will be a payoff.
ACCEPT A NEW VIEW OF WORKING LIFE
There’s a new view now that says the extended life many of us look forward to may offer not one or two careers, but possibly even three. Since we are going to live longer we will need to support ourselves financially for extra time. We may as well do so in fields that suit the different pace and broader view of later life where there are financial rewards built in.
Moving from past experiences and taking advantage of options when they arise is vital to beginning something new. Dealing with family and/or partners is a vital part of the new outlook. Talk things over so that they don’t feel excluded and do know what to expect. If a partner is forced to change parts of his/her own comfortable life in order to accommodate your new directions and he/she will resist. This has to be taken into account. Battling against a partner’s disapproval and lack of support is a hard task.
Making use of natural transition times is wise. A mother might send herself back to training when her youngest finally goes to school. Parents may move from town to country once their children have finished full-time education. Mid-life change of career falls in better with children changing school at ll or 13 than at other times.
A new career may burgeon on official retirement. The man or woman who retires at an early age may choose to channel their energies into local politics so that they feel they have some hand in their own destiny, at least locally. Local communities too have much to offer. People, missing the natural togetherness their family formerly provided, might join a training group which offers social contact as well as self-exploration, education and even the opportunity to become trainers themselves.