Tuesday, December 13, 2011
That Age Old Question...Again
I never feel age ... If you have creative work, you don't have age or time.”- Lousie Nevelson
Frank McCourt relished his role as Fitzgerald slayer. The famed high school teacher turned author loved to put the kibosh on F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous line,"There are no Second Acts in American life." McCourt, who published his first book, the blockbuster bestseller Angela's Ashes at 66( followed by 'Tis and Teacher Man) often called the last decade of his life his best.
So I'm sure he'd delight in being my opening salvo in a motivational nudge I recently gave a client deeply entrenched in a procrastinational funk. "I'm too old to start writing a book now," she said, lamenting her approaching birthday. I'm not sure where she got such a silly notion, but she's not alone. I've had many clients and students who think they're too old to pursue their dreams. Unless your dream is to, say, play shortstop for the Mets or dance in the NYC Ballet, I'm pretty sure they are within reach. Think of it this way: you're still--God willing--going to turn 40,50,60, whatever age you deem too old. Wouldn't your rather reach that dubious milestone doing something you love?
The truth is creativity knows no age. Actually, the art of creating helps you stay young, keeping you in touch with the child within, letting you engage in the states of exploration and play. And whatever your age, you've presumably accrued experience along the way. This can only help enrich the art you create.
Besides McCourt examples of late-blooming artists abound. Grandma Moses didn't even start painting until her 70's; her late-in-life career kept her thriving, creating the American folk art that has immortalized her well into her 90's. Maya Angelou didn't publish anything until her 40's. Neither did Ellen Gilchrist;the National Book Award winning short story writer and novelist once said of writing, "it makes me forget I'm not young anymore."
There are examples from the youth-obsessed entertainment industry, too. Noted character actor John Mahoney--famous for his TV role as Frasier's dad (and numerous movie parts)ditched his job as a text book editor in his 40's to pursue acting. Julia Child was over fifty when she published her first ground-breaking cook book; and she was well into her fifties when she stormed the small screen, becoming the first celebrity TV chef. Country singers K.T. Oslin and Buddy Jewel didn't hit the charts until their 40's. And Britain's Got Talent finalist and YouTube sensation Susan Boyle recorded her first album at the tender age of 48. And The Pope signed a record deal in his 80's. Such news is Heaven sent for most folks of a certain age.
There's nothing like immersing yourself in a creative project to infuse your life with youthful energy. So dive into the creative well. It's the ultimate fountain of youth. Hey, what are you waiting for? You're not getting any younger.
Cheers and onward.