Once upon a time, we were all children. We played, talked, painted with abandon. Those stick figures never seemed awkward when we drew them, we did not have the consciousness of exactitude or photographic imaging. We had pride in our work and went back again and again to draw more.
But as we matured, a different consciousness took hold. We had an awareness of the visual experience and our capability to replicate it. For some, this provided an exciting challenge to learn the nuances of representational art, yet for others, it encouraged avoidance behavior. But there is a big chasm here. There is an opportunity to release your inhibitions and creatively express yourself. Look at the differences in the work of Picasso, Jackson Pollack, Dali and others who defied classic portraiture and explored colors, shapes, and brush strokes to communicate their vision. Don’t use rules, use your energy and find your passion. Sure some of us are born with more intuitive visual talent or sharper music skills but all of us can benefit from taking the plunge to being creative and maintaining creativity in our lives.
The Linden Center for Creativity and Aging within the Gerontology Institute at Ithaca College is less than a year old and was established to understand the involvement between aging and creativity and ways that people, institutions and our society can benefit. “There is a growing recognition among those who study aging that involvement in creative activities such as the arts can contribute significantly to well-being across a person’s life span,” said John Krout, professor of Gerontology and director of the Gerontology Institute at Ithaca College. “The fact is, an older person doesn’t have to be Picasso to embark on new creative pursuits or continue lifelong creative endeavors.”
Can you learn to be creative? David Perkins, a Harvard scholar, has written The Eureka Effect, a book about “breakthrough thinking” which is thinking creatively and thinking outside-the-box. He confirms that for some of us it is comes more easily than for others and says much is in attitude. “It’s sort of like running:” Perkins says” anyone can do it, but you can learn to do it better.”
It is always the right time to reevaluate, reinvent and renew ourselves. In the third stage of life, we should feel excited to fill our life journal with new experiences and challenges met. Think outside the box because it is the creative spirit that empowers us to be free of rigid constraints and engages us to invent and inspire positive experiences.
As George Burns said "You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old."