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What Does It Mean to Live a Creative Life in Midlife and Beyond?

By Marcia Smalley November 08, 2021 Mindset

When you ask women over 50 what it means to be “creative,” you get a treasure trove of insight. When you use Julia Cameron’s book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, as a roadmap for conversation, magic happens.

In 2020 and 2021, this book was the basis for discussion in my virtual program Rediscovering Creativity.

Amidst uncertainty, disruption, and plain old fear, soulful groups of women came together seeking respite. I used the first four chapters of It’s Never Too Late… to inspire four weekly conversations: Reigniting a Sense of Wonder, Reigniting a Sense of Freedom, Reigniting a Sense of Connection, and Reigniting a Sense of Purpose.

A Prescription Journey

The journey we took was comforting, inspirational, and fun! Just what the doctor ordered. And these women soon realized that “makers” are not the only creative people in the world. Everyone is a Creative Being whether or not they wield a paint brush.

Along the way, another interesting thing happened. The first group of women who joined in Circle to rediscover creativity weren’t ready to end their conversations after four chapters.

There was more gold to mine in the rest of Julia’s book. So they stayed together, meeting every month on Zoom to dive in to what else she had to offer about living a creative life and finding meaning. I developed some questions for their consideration.

These questions are opportunities for any woman (or man) to reflect on the past year or two. And they can also help set a course for future months as we navigate life now.

Here are just a few:

Reigniting a Sense of Honesty

Living life more honestly is empowering. How do you censor yourself? How has self-doubt shown up in your life? Have you made peace with either of these things?

Reigniting a Sense of Humility

Our ego wants to be an expert; our inner artist is humble enough to be a beginner. How does it feel to be a beginner? Do you feel the push/pull between the ego and the artist in your life?

Reigniting a Sense of Resilience

We all need “a path to spiritual alignment.” Where does your resilience come from? Why is resilience important to your Creative Self?

Reigniting a Sense of Joy

The gift of renewed creative energy. What are 10 fun things you allow yourself to do? What makes you laugh? What small luxuries could you / do you indulge in?

Reigniting a Sense of Motion

The gift of a dynamic life. How are you defining productivity these days? How are you moving forward? How do you wiggle free when you feel stuck?

Reigniting a Sense of Vitality

“…when we honor our true identity, vitality is the reward.” How do you refill your well when it’s running dry? What are 5 simple things you can do for your health? 

Reigniting a Sense of Adventure

Finding what excites or intrigues you. Is there a risk you were afraid to take that you’re now afraid not to take? Do you feel the promise of adventure calling you? What is it saying?

Reigniting a Sense of Faith

Developing your spiritual Self. How are you embracing the “magic of today?” How much is “enough” today? 

All of these questions (and so many more) help us calibrate where we are and show us where we’ve been. They help us stretch toward who we are becoming.

Life is a creative process. We create ourselves every day. And there’s such deep meaning to be found when we treat ourselves as the glorious Works in Progress that we are.

Thank you, Julia Cameron, and cheers to all the Everyday Artists that you inspire.

How do you define “creativity” in your life? Is it important to nurture your creativity? What questions or ideas are inspiring you these days?

Let's Have a Conversation!

The Author

Marcia Smalley is a certified life coach, retirement coach, writer and teacher. She delights in helping mid-life women step confidently into their next act and design a joyous, expanded life. Marcia supports women by providing individual coaching and by conducting on-line Women’s Circles. Please visit her website at http://www.marciasmalley.com

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