Have you thought a lot about your source of inspiration? It is apparent to me that much of mine has come from turmoil, because when I am relatively at peace I bring new definition to the term “fat and happy.” I started Middle Aged Crazy largely because I had some things to work out, and, looking back, my best pieces came from times when I had the most troubled mind. Finding a way to voice that turmoil seemed to register with many, but, I gotta tell you, it was exhausting. And, since I am a goal oriented kind of guy, I worked out a lot of what I had to work out!
So, NOW what do I write about?
Creativity is a form of problem solving, an attempt to fix things that need fixing, and I’m running out of things to fix! In general, that’s a good thing, but when it comes to my creative life, it is a new challenge. I need to draw from a different well least I start sounding like those Facebook people who tell you every time they break a shoelace. My life, even with everyday annoyances, isn’t terrible and who needs to read about that? The questions that I had when I started MAC have largely been resolved.
Peace is good.
I defined Middle Age as a time when we begin to reevaluate the decision making process that we learned as children. It’s a Jungian concept, we follow a script that we learn as infants, we grow up trying to please others and middle age begins when we begin to think about pleasing ourselves. That can lead to a spectrum of behaviors that go from taking up knitting to full blown mid-life crisis. And, among the cures, we like to say around here, is finding your creative side. And, at least in my case, it worked! I’ll tell you what else works: quit worrying about “self” and “finding happiness” and launch into service. In my case it was family (and my clients), for others it can be something else, but the long term lesson is that the best way to reinvent yourself is to lose yourself.
Ego is a pleasant thing to look back on, not that mine is gone altogether, but there is an inevitable mellowing as you get older, and I am enjoying the feeling. There is a certain peace that comes from not feeling like you have to fight your way out of an alley every day, it’s okay to let someone else win now and then. Wisdom seems to be about keeping one eye on the big picture. By getting up and asking, “Who can I help today?” you are never going to run out of meaning in your life. There is always someone who can use your help.
My high school 40th reunion is coming up and a lot of Facebook pictures of old people who I supposedly used to know are popping up on my feed. Some of them are excited about having recently retired and I won’t be joining them anytime soon (at the reunion or in retirement). I am still planning on living with passion: writing, building a new firm, traveling, doing Improv, and maybe even adding some academic degrees in the coming years. There are many adventures ahead of me, much life to live. Most importantly, I have a family to continue to take care of and my wife, Teresa’s, new good health to enjoy. Life is pretty fascinating, I’m lucky to have it, and I still have a curiosity and zest that I don’t think I’ll be losing soon.
One of the things that has interested me all of my life is the connection between spirit and inspiration. In Florence, during the Renaissance, there was a particular notion that you touch God when you are creating and that artists are drawing from the supernatural when they are in flow. It certainly rings true to me and I believe that we can all be creative and that Grace is found when we view the world through the eyes of an artist. Spirituality is a mine field: you can’t mention it without offending somebody, you are either labeled a heretic, a heathen, or a religious whacko if you mention anything vaguely related to God, yet somewhere among the “god words” is a truth that we can all relate to and creativity might be the thing that we can all finally agree on. This spring there is a church trip to Greece, to visit the steps of the apostle Paul, a guy who knew something about God and about writing. It sounds like a great trip and we are giving it serious thought. (I even ordered the Pimsler Greek course). I think I will find some answers to these question there (and meet a few people named Nick).
So, I hope you’ll continue to join me here on the MAC site, that you’ll tell me about your journeys into creation, and that we can continue to grow together. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!