Art in the Second Half of Life

Some of the pros of pursuing a creative field in my forties are that

  • I feel calmer, braver, and less neurotic than I did when I was younger.
  • I’ve mostly raised my kids, so I don’t have Mom Guilt when I take time away from them to get better at my craft.
  • I’m more disciplined with my time because, honestly, there are fewer things in my life that feel like interesting distractions (with the possible exception of podcasts on unsolved murders).
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Photo by Pixabay on

But there are cons, too.

  • I feel rushed, like I’m always on the verge of running out of time. It’s hard not to compare myself to twenty or thirty-somethings who are doing all the things I’m doing, but sooner, so the odds of success seem ever in their favor.
  • I get mentally exhausted sooner than I did in my twenties, and I wonder if my ideas are “safer” because of this mellow(er) decade.
  • I’m physically tired.
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Photo by Steve Johnson on

In order to keep going, I have to remind myself that

  • I was meant to find this path at this time (I believe God directs our lives more than we realize).
  • My ideas are probably less wild but truer than if I’d written them down earlier. This is because I’ve lived more. I’ve sat in the shadows with people. I’ve traveled the world. This has to count for something.
  • My life is going to pass whether I pursue writing or not. Since there’s no slowing down the passage of time, I might as well spend some of it doing what I love.

Are you thinking of creating art in the second half of your life? If you need a little encouragement, check out these women who got published after the age of 40. 

The Power of 15

You know what Americans say when you ask how they are?

(If you said fine, you’re so ten years ago).

The new answer is busy.

I say it, too, because it’s true. I’m busy. You’re busy. All God’s (American) children are busy.

The question I’ve been asking for a long time: How do I maintain the mental margin needed to foster creativity when there’s something to do every minute of the day?

monochrome photography of woman standing at the subway
Photo by Úrsula Madariaga on

Then I noticed something.

Most days, I find myself with the odd chunk of time, a snippet of dead space where I could be getting something done, but I just don’t want to. Lately, instead of feeling guilty that I’m not being ultra-productive, I’ve been staring off into space, if only for 10-15 minutes. I don’t look at my phone or check email. I don’t try to fit in a little reading. I sure as heck don’t try to work on my book.

I just daydream.

It’s sort-of saving my life. I find I have more peace and clarity on days when I give myself this kind of mini-break. I can tap into my creative side more easily when it’s time to write or edit. Often, my ideas are queued up, just waiting for me to implement them.

In short, letting my brain wander for 10-15 minutes has paid big creative dividends, so I’m not planning on ditching this “wasted” time any time soon.

What about you? Do you have a few minutes you can afford to “squander” by letting yourself do nothing but think?

I hope you do.