In mulling over the milestone of another birthday and the lovely sentiment above, I keep coming back to two things I believe to be true. These beliefs have changed the way I think about age, and help me to honor both the very real passing of time and the equally real ability to escape time into a different kind of reality.
"Honey, if you want to keep learning and living, then YOU WILL."
The first is some advice that I received from my beautiful and strong Grandma a few years back. I was talking to my Grandma on the telephone, and I told her that I admired her determination to keep going strong, and that I hoped I would be like her someday--at the time of the call, she was 96 and she still belonged to a social club, drove herself to the library to read new releases, enjoyed her favorite movies from the comfort of her den, and thrived on meeting new people and learning new things. I have always feared getting older and losing the ability to try new things, discover new passions, and physically get myself to and from the theatre, the park, a good museum.
In response to the compliment I gave her, she said something I can still hear, clear as day. She replied "Honey, if you want to keep learning and living, then YOU WILL." It was so simple and though I usually rebel against an easy answer, as soon as she said this, I believed her. If we want to keep an open mind and heart, and keep finding ways to create, then we will. Even old and gray, sitting in a well worn easy chair, one can still feel joy from a beautiful painting on the wall, a favorite piece of music, or what it feels like to recite your favorite lines of Shakespeare.
Don't Over-analyze What Brings You Joy, Just Go With It
The second belief is that although we can and do spend so much time analyzing creativity and joy (I'm in that camp for sure!), sometimes the best thing to do is allow our loves and curiosities and joys steer our ship for awhile--without wondering why, how, or to what end. When we let ourselves sink deeply into these moments, no matter our age, we ARE ageless.
How we get to this place is completely unique. For you, it might be playing with your child, singing along (loudly) with your favorite band at a concert, watching a much beloved movie, playing catch with your puppy at the beach....For me, at this moment, it's learning to swing dance, reciting Shakespeare soliloquies as I ride my bike, and Why are these particular things the building blocks of my own creative life at this present moment? I'm not sure, and honestly, I don't know that it's worth it or necessary to try justifying them or explaining the science of why I love them. I just do. I think it's enough to just love them and let them carry me to a place where I feel ageless.
Do you remember being a kid and having an adult tell you to do something, with the only explanation being "Because that's just the way it is"? Well, adult friends, this is your chance to make your inner five year old's dreams come true and use that very same explanation with any naysayers you might have in your own life--including yourself. "Why do you care about knitting (or baking or learning banjo or scrapbooking, or waltzing, etc.) so much?"
Because that's just the way it is.
What makes time stop for you? What do you love? What holds you back from letting yourself enjoy that thing or things more often? As always, I'd love to continue the conversation in the comments.
Wishing you a weekend full of dreaming, making, and whatever it is that sets your soul on fire. No explanation required.