So often we think we’re too old to start anything new. Too old to take a lesson. Too old to start a project. Too old to write. Too old to sing. Too old to dance, to paint, to tinker. Too old to have a workshop or studio or any space dedicated to our creativity. Too old to play or dream. Because that’s really at the heart of it, isn’t it? When we think we’re too old to explore our art—whatever our art might be—what we’re really saying is that we’re too old to wish, to imagine, to conceive, to invent, to fantasize, to desire, to let loose, to have fun.
By (mistakenly) making such assumptions, we rob ourselves of joy. Deep, fulfilling joy.
And the reality is that you’re not too old. You’re not too old for any of it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 50, 60, 70, 80 or 95. As Julia Cameron writes in her newest book It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, “we can still be vibrant beginners.”
Cameron, too, was worried that she’d never write again. Which she told to a therapist. “I think you’re afraid of aging,” the therapist said. “I think if you write about that, you’ll find yourself writing freely again.”
And what Cameron writes next is true and powerful: “The answer is always creativity.”
Yes. Yes, it is.
In the book Cameron shares so many inspiring and wonderful examples of individuals pursuing new projects, new classes, new adventures. For instance, writer John Bowers published his first novel, End of Story, when he was 60 years old. Cameron’s friend, who’s in her mid 60s and always loved to dance, takes strenuous Zumba classes three times a week.
Another friend rediscovered his love of photography after retiring from a career in communication technology. As Cameron writes, “He began taking photos, enjoying learning about the magic of digital cameras, and soon playing around in Photoshop to alter the images he took.” Thomas Meehan, who wrote Annie, The Producers and Hairspray, had two musicals on Broadway in one season. He was 83. Today, at 86, he’s working on a new show. B.B. King was still touring well into his 80s.
According to Cameron, “Self-expression is something that does not—and should not—ever stop. Each of us is creative. Each of us has something unique to bring to the world.” If you’re currently retired or in the process of retiring, this is a time to design your future, she writes. It’s a time to begin projects and explore your creativity. To get curious. To ask questions. To seek answers. To learn what you’ve always wanted to learn. To create on your own terms. Because you are never too old to dream or do.
What do you want to try? What do you want to learn? What do you want to read about? What do you want to create? How do you want to express yourself? What activities make you feel alive? What fascinates you?
Again, you are never too old to explore these questions. You are never too old to experiment and find what excites and inspires you. You’re just beginning. Again. And that’s a good place to be.
Stay tuned this week for a piece on whimsy, also featuring Julia Cameron’s wise insights from her new book.