Wednesday, July 11, 2012

…And She Never Mentioned Sex!

You can imagine how stunned and dismayed we were when a friend recently said “only young people are creative.” We couldn’t believe that she actually felt that way! We are true believers in ageless creativity and asked her, what about Grandma Moses, Colonel Sanders (founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken) and the architect, Philip Johnson? They were all up in years when they were achieving great things!

“Does that mean an older person can’t be creative?” we asked. She tried to back pedal but we didn’t let her up for air. “So you think every young person is full of innovation and creativity?” Well not always, she mumbled. Truth is we know many young people who don’t have a creative bone in their body! Yet somewhere in the last twenty or thirty years, it became standard to assume that brilliance was the exclusive territory of the young. Wrong! There have been many flashes of creativity, even works of brilliance generated by those not typified as fresh or new. Let’s face it, a 60, 70, even 80 year old person can look at life with an experienced eye that can lead to all sorts of creative possibilities. And yes that usually happens when the person themselves are flexible and open to change.
Authors and composers often maintain their creativity well beyond what is considered normal “retirement age.” Herman Wouk, author of The Caine Mutiny and The Winds of War, might just have celebrated his 97th birthday in May but just a few days earlier the 96-year-old novelist had sold his latest novel to Simon & Schuster. The book entitled, The Lawgiver follows the production of a movie about Moses through “letters, memos, emails, journals, news articles, recorded talk, tweets, Skype transcripts, and text messages!” Talk about innovation and using the latest in technology and social media! And this from a man in his 90’s!

Ray Bradbury, the science fiction fantasy master, recently died at 91. Although slowed in recent years by a stroke that meant he had to use a wheelchair, Bradbury remained active, turning out new novels, plays, screenplays and a volume of poetry up until the end. He wrote every day in the basement office of his Cheviot Hills, California home and appeared from time to time at bookstores, public library fundraisers and other literary events around Los Angeles.

And what about LeRoy Neiman, artist of bold life and bright canvasses, who died at age 91? He once told an AP reporter, "I just love what I do. I love the passion you go through while you're creating, and the public's "very thoughtful and careful studied and emotional reaction of what you're doing."

Then there is the composers we all know and love, like Handel, Bach, Liszt, and Puccini who continued to produce new scores well into their 70s. And think about this--when they lived the life expectancy of a male was around 40-47 years old.

But we think that the award for creative longevity goes to Jean MacLeod, Britain’s oldest romantic novelist. She spent her 101st birthday, 2 years ago, beginning her 130th novel. She said at the time that money was never her motivation for writing. She simply loved knowing that people were enjoying what she wrote. That was reward enough. The money earned was a simply a bonus. And the most amazing part is that she never mentions the word “sex” in any of her novels. Love, romance, tenderness, but not “what goes on in the bedroom.”

So have you let your creativity dry up? Or are you someone who still wants to find your creative bone? We believe that this is all a part of the Rewiring® process; but a lot depends on your attitude and how hungry you are to make it happen.

You don’t have to write, compose music, or even do something that is creative by traditional standards. What we are saying is don’t be put off by thinking that creativity belongs to the young. How you define creativity is up to you but if you want to take that piano lesson, take it, If you want to sketch, go out and buy a sketch pad. This is a way to rewire your life and your brain at the same time. Using your imagination engages your brain and actually keeps you healthier and more engaged with life. What could be better?

Think about taking a class in the Fall; or how about going on a learning vacation? Don’t forget about your local library or YWCA to hear a speaker on a topic of interest. And remember it is NEVER too late to discover a hidden talent or two. Do it for yourself.

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