Relighting the fire

meaningoflife1

This funny list is from from ingredientx.

One of my favorite blogs is The Art of Nonconformity: Life, Work & Travel, by Chris Guillebeau. Today his post is “HOW TO WRITE A LIFE LIST.”
I’ll let you read it for yourself but it deals with living a life fulfilled rather than the disturbing alternative. Chris defines the idea, provides links that help us write our own “bucket list” and goes on to distinguish between vague and measurable goals. I visited the links Chris offered and, after not being able to answer Chris’s question “What do I really want to do?”,  I left the site after leaving this comment:

Hi Chris, I will turn 56 in a couple weeks. I think I should mention that your list can feel dated as you age, like those jackets with shoulder pads I eventually threw away. As I age, my needs and desires have changed drastically. After having to suddenly take early retirement 3 1/2 years ago, I tried to follow my old list to find satisfaction. (This was the list I made in my 40s because my youthful list was outdated.)

Well, It didn’t fit. Now I need a completely new list! Believe me, this isn’t easy at my age with a chronic illness. Also, I have many notches on my belt as it is. I wonder what other “older” readers could tell me about finding new desires and challenges after you’ve been around the block a couple of times? (Skydiving is out!)

I do wonder what some of my older readers (do I have any older readers? Do I have any readers, LOL?) could tell me about relighting the fire after a certain age and given the physical limitations placed on us by age? What matters to you any more? Where did those earlier desires like (don’t laugh) Club Med go? And if I am the oldest person in the room, would someone please let me know?

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14 thoughts on “Relighting the fire

  1. Well, I’m a reader. I read every single post you write, so don’t you go thinking that there’s nobody out here.

    I am in my early thirties, so I can’t directly answer your other question. I saw the life list post too… the thought of making one scared me, but I might get braver soon.

    xx

  2. I’m here, too :).

    I always read; don’t always have time to comment as I am finishing my dissertation and preparing to receive my doctorate in six short weeks after eight longgggg years.

    I turn 38 in July, so what follows might be completely useless to you. In my time on this Earth I find what matters to me has changed little.

    I still love my family with all my heart; as it expands (great-nieces and great-nephews) so does my love.

    I still keep my dreams alive– they change a little, and age, but never fade away.

    I still think I can improve life for others, even if it is just with kindness.

    I still think I can walk all day in heels– and think that all I want, my feet always tell me otherwise.

    I still laugh, and love, and live… and that’s what’s matters to me.

    To catch up on comments: I loved your most recent pieces. The ocean one was stunning… as was the volcano. Fire and water. Any signs of earth or air on the art horizon? What a gorgeous collection they would make placed together on a wall…

    Have a good weekend 🙂

  3. You really know how to pose a tough question, Diana! Like Emma, I don’t have any personal suggestions but you have got me thinking about a book I’ve always meant to read. As the title suggests, Edward Said’s ‘On Late Style’ was an attempt to look at the music and writing from the latter stages of great artists’ careers. I’m not sure it’s a particularly successful read — it was unfinished, for one thing — and I’m certain you’re only at the middle stage of your career. All the same, I wonder if any of your favourite artists can provide a template from which to find a spark? I’m thinking of Cézanne, Van Gogh or Matisse rather than gloomy Goya or Picasso. For me, it is Beethoven here and here.

  4. @PJ
    Yes, I should concentrate more of my reading time on my (older) idols, my favorite (artist) being Louise Bourgeois. Here is a great blog about her…
    http://www.mutanteggplant.com/vitro-nasu/category/art/louise-bourgeois/

    I am currently reading Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing. Since Bradbury has been a constant from my young life to my current one, he allows me access to my youthful enthusiasm. He’s the one responsible for all my pensive wanderings and dark explorations lately. He’s not afraid to go into cemeteries. But what infuriates me is how wonderful his childhood was in comparison to mine! Reading him is like listening to someone else describing a perfect meal, while you’re starving!

    And I am rereading Updike, that mad egotist that reminds me of what I have endured all my life (narcissists).

    Twila Tharpe, just finished her autobiography.

    I guess I could stop reading young, healthy go-getters, but then I wouldn’t be following all of you, now would I?

    (On Late Style), NYTimes quote… Said isn’t really interested in lateness that brings wisdom, harmony and serenity… he is interested in lateness as opposition, lateness that displays “intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction.” Now that’s my kind of artist! Thanks for the reference.

    @Skyewriter Congrats on your PhD! You sound like you have a life and family that is still intact and bringing you joy. That’s wonderful. Things have gotten sparse over here, dwindled rather than expanded. I hope that changes soon when I get to see my only grandchild. We are such a small family. Everyone counts twice!

    @Emma The life list scares me too. What to want! And the old saying, Be careful what you wish for!

  5. Some great leads there. Thank you! I know LB’s work. I saw this great show and her ENORMOUS installation in the Tate Turbine Hall. I’ll look out for the Bradbury book.

    For what it’s worth, I think your “intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction” is very inspiring!

  6. @Skyewriter I forgot to thank you for the compliment. Yes, I’d love to do air and earth. I have been leaning towards the natural in my new work. And enjoy being 38. I remember it as an energetic time.

  7. Oh I hope you get to see one of her giant sculptures soon!

    Things went a bit wild on my site today and I got no writing of my own done! Thanks for defending me!

  8. I usually just lurk around blogs, reading, reading… this is the first time I’ve seen yours, full of gorgeous beading AND thoughtful writing. Wow. Manna. I’m 56, I have the usual emotional baggage of someone who was a frightened child, had an unfortunate marriage, never saw well enough or felt physically right, etc.

    I’m also remarried, in love, well-cherished, and experiencing a renewed interest in life and art. I agree with skyewriter’s list of the verities, the truly important things. Try to be as kind as possible. Let other people in front of you in traffic. Be loving. Be true to your artistic vision (I liked that post of yours…don’t ask for critique, but can we still praise your work? without being a critic?). Do what stirs your blood. Keep moving, or you’ll seize up.

    Thanks for being out there – inspiring people you’ll never meet, maybe – new ones every day!

  9. @Peggy Thank you and it’s nice to meet you. Feel free to lurk any time. I’m 56 as well and your past life sounds a lot like mine. You sound like you know how to tame life’s beasts at this point. Good luck to you.

    Of course you can comment on my work, praise it or give me your reaction!
    Critique is completely different. Critique, that I was discussing, is when others tell you if your art is made right or well, ha ha. Or you should have made it a different color, or put this here, not there. Or you should be working in a different genre, or medium. But mostly it’s asking someone, do you think this is good enough? And I won’t do that any more. I work to my standards and instincts.

    But I love hearing feedback, whether you like it, what you like about it, or how it makes you feel – even (especially!) if it makes you sad or mad! It’s all good stuff, feedback. Thanks for asking 🙂

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