Yesterday as I was walking around a large arts festival between downpours, I saw all sorts of amazing creations. I’m a bit jaded as my daughters are hugely artistic. I do photography, though not seriously, mostly for my own enjoyment. I sketch a bit but a sixth grader can overshadow my work pretty easily. There were artists from all over the country there with all sorts of media from paint, to wood, to metal, to fabric, to jewelry and mixed media. Anything you could think of was housed in those white tents lining the streets and bridges. Of course everything I liked was priced out of what I would be willing to pay for it but I am cheap. And we have been trying to downsize our possessions, not add to them. So it would have to be a work of art that would absolutely move me for me to even purchase it.
There was so much talent residing in that one area, it started me thinking. My one real art that I am passionate about is writing. No, I don’t pen fabulously crafted sentences with prose that other authors would envy. My writing is pretty straight forward, like my personality. My strength seems to be empathy not creativity so much. I write in a voice that others hear in their own heads and hearts. I can paint a picture with words but it won’t be flowery and chock full of adjectives describing the scene to the minute degree. I like to keep it moving. When I read and start getting mired in overly descriptive paragraphs about nothing, my natural tendency toward efficiency will have me skimming the lines until I find some real action again. Some readers love an author who will wax poetic for long stints. Me, I think, what’s next? What happens next?
Driving home alone after being rained out of the festival, I opened the sunroof of my truck, letting the warm, humid air blow through the cab. If I can help it, every vehicle I own from now on will have a sunroof. Even if it’s a junker. I love the sky above me and the air blowing through the roof. I turned up my music and enjoyed watching the dance of the fading sun and storm clouds in the horizon knowing soon, I’d have to shut the sunroof when the next round of rain came upon me. This is summer at it’s best for me. Just being able to open the windows and not freeze. Moments like these make me feel inspired.
I have been thinking about reinvention and second acts that are popular with my age group (middle aged). People ruse being middle aged as the approach to the end. As if “middle aged” is a bad word or words. What people don’t realize is that while yes, you are past that ‘young’ era but that isn’t necessarily a negative thing. I sat in a bar/restaurant yesterday that caters to the younger, hipster crowd noting that I was one of the oldest people in there. My daughter and her boyfriend love this place and it does have fabulous food and atmosphere. I’m overhearing conversations, watching the interactions of these 20-somethings, maybe 30-somethings and thinking I am so glad I am 45. There is a wisdom and freedom with this age and older. You have passed a lot of the frivolous drama, marriage and raising kids or at the later part of raising kids.
I also realized that I have much in common with what was either in college or just out of college kids. I have my whole life ahead of me albeit about 20 so more years into the process. But I have this advantage over them. Many of them will be getting married and having children (or adopting etc for same sex couples). I’ve already experienced this part of my life. I am financially stable and less encumbered. I’ve learned many lessons in life already (and will continue to learn) that I can use to my advantage. I’m not too old for most things. If an 80 year old woman can become a DJ in night clubs, imagine what I can do? I may not be joining the military or doing Ironman competitions because of my knee problems but I still have the chance to become a best-selling writer if I’d ever publish something.
I saw all those artists today who have put their work out there for the world, that are pursuing their goals and I realized I can write all I want but until I start actually finishing something I can submit, my work is going to go unnoticed outside of this blog. As far as the reinvention which is really not that, but more about experiencing life and not limiting myself to what I am today, it’s about stepping out of my comfort zone. Exploring things as I would have when I was younger. Actually, it’s not reinventing anything, it’s simply living my life to the fullest. Taking some chances, stop being so safe all the time. Trying on different hats. Stretching the imagination.
Middle aged isn’t a death sentence as everyone wants you to believe. It’s a new beginning.