How To Age Gracefully Through Creativity
Creativity Is For Everyone
Welcome to my hub! This is my creative contribution to the internet today and I knew when I awoke this morning that I would unleash some creativity on the world (whether the world likes it or not).
Creativity doesn't belong to anyone -it is owned by all of us and for some of us it is one of the most important things we possess.
Imagine waking up every day WITHOUT that creativity?
For most of us, creativity is part of who we are and whether you are 8 years old, sitting with your paintbrushes and a clean white sheet of paper, ready to bring your artistic talents to life or you are 48 and ready to write another hub ("Guilty, your Honour!"), creativity is what makes you tick - it makes you happy, it is an intrinsic part of who you are.
But creativity is a devil isn't it? It doesn't always kick in when you're born. Sometimes, creativity lies dormant for a long time as other things in life take over. It sits happily on the backburner knowing that eventually, it will find its place in your life.
This hub is written in response to Simone Smith's question in the Answers section -
How can one age gracefully and feel young?
Aging Late Bloomers - 5 People Who Found Creativity Later in Life
5. Susan Boyle -Singing Sensation - aged 48
Susan Boyle was born on April Fool's Day, 1961 and grew up in a normal working-class household in Blackburn, West Lothian.
When she appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2009, she went onto the stage to some gentle sniggering. Susan Boyle is certainly not the most attractive lady to ever walk the planet, but was this a reason for such mockery? Well thankfully, Susan Boyle wiped the smiles off her haters faces.
She blew the judges socks off. People were awe struck and dumbfounded. Susan Boyle was 48 years old, one of the show's older competitors and when she sang "I Dreamed A Dream", the world sat up and listened.
The show was posted on You Tube and was heard around the world and that was that, Susan Boyle, once a keen Karaoke star in her neighbourhood was a worldwide star.
She actually came 2nd in the final of Britain's Got Talent and had a breakdown because of exhaustion (and all of the unexpected attention) the day after the final.
Since that time, the winning act, a dance group called Diversity have gone on to better things in their genre but Susan Boyle has gone viral! 88 million hits on You Tube, a worldwide best-selling album which went to number 1 all over the world.
She had a successful UK and Worldwide tour and has followed her Britain's Got Talent success with two further albums.
At present, Elaine C Smith is playing Susan Boyle in a dramatisation of her life story.
So Susan Boyle didn't find fame until she was 48 BUT - she discovered her creativity as a young woman and had sung for many years in choirs, in church and also on previous TV shows.
In 1998, she appeared singing at a shopping mall on a Michael Barrymore presented show but he (as usual) bigged himself up in his egotistical way and took the micky out of her but she was good on that show - it was edited to bits and showed her as an object of mockery. Shame on you Michael Barrymore.
She also produced a professional demo and performed on a charity CD to great acclaim, local DJs who played the track raved about it - Susan's talents remained hidden. She was pretty sure it was because 'it's all about looks!'. She was right of course, until Britain's Got Talent's audition and the worldwide response to it.
As I wrote earlier, creativity only sits on the back burner for so long - thankfully, Susan Boyle's creativity won through and we are all thankful for it.
Aging Led To Creativiy
4. Laura Ingalls Wilder - best-selling author, aged 64
There cannot be many people of a certain age reading this, who have not seen the TV adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder's most famous book, 'Little House on The Prairie'.
It was a stalwart of 1970s TV scheduling and as popular in the UK as in the USA at the time.
It was the story of a family's pioneering move to Minnesota and told the story of their troubles and joys as they tried to farm successfully in an unforgiving climate.
The book was published in 1935 and was preceded by the first book in the series, 'The Little House In The Big Woods', which was published in 1932.
It is difficult for us to imagine, in this age of e-publishing, some of which should never see the light of day, that Laura Ingalls Wilder kept her books hidden away in a drawer at home for over 50 years before finally showing them to her daughter, Rose, who suggested she publish them.
Laura Ingalls Wilder's books are basically a biographical account of her parents' move west to make a homestead and support their family. It was written like a journal over many years and put away by Wilder without any thoughts of publishing it.
In 1929, when Wilder and her husband Manly fell on hard times due to the Wall Street crash, she finally dug out the journals and showed them to her daughter, Rose. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Laura Inglass Wilder had already started to display her creativity as a columnist on their local newspaper, the Missouri Ruralist and was perfectly happy with the money she was making from the column and had achieved fame on a small scale in her home town. Her daughter would often tell her to write columns for national newspapers but it seems that Wilder did not feel confident in her own skills as a writer and refused to do so.
However, in time, Rose Wilder(later Lane) began to edit her mother's work and did have success with it in other newspapers and it is thought that Rose Lane had a hand in editing the journals which became 'The Little House In The Big Woods' and 'Little House On The Prairie'.
Incredibly, the journals, as rough and ready as they were, contained the wonderful stories of family life showing hardship, courage and also much happiness during a significant period in American history.
Rose Lane was a skilled and astute editor and she turned her mother's stories into readable novels; they sold millions of copies and are still in print today.
Laura Ingalls Wilder recovered her stock market losses and much more. Both she and Manly lived out the rest of their lives in the home they had shared since 1894 in Mansfield, Missouri.
She died in 1957, aged 90 in her sleep in that same house.
The house is now a museum to her life and literary works.
In 1971, a further book in the series was published posthumously; it was the story of the first four years of her parents' struggles to find a homestead and become farmers. It was discovered after Rose Lane's death and one must wonder why she chose not to publish it in her lifetime. Rose Lane needs to take some of the credit for shaping Wilder's journals into novels but Wilder herself, at 64 years old, finally decided that maybe they were worth reading.
3. Julia Child - gourmet chef and writer at 49.
Recently immortalised by Meryl Streep in the movie, Julia and Julia in 2009, Julia Child achieved her success as a top TV chef in later life but up to that point had led an already astonishing life as a top secret researcher working for the U.S. government during World War II.
This information was classified during her lifetime but is now available online.
She is though, most famous for her love and enthusiasm for French Cuisine and for her TV programmes and books which demonstrated her own skills in cordon bleu cooking.
She graduated from Smith University in 1934 and got a job working as a copywriter for W & J Sloane. She was always a very intelligent woman and it did not take long for Sloane to use her talents in the right ways.
During World War 2, Julia worked for the US government in counter intelligence in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and China and after the war she married her husband Paul, who also served in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services).
Paul had already lived in France and convinced Julia that she would enjoy the French way of life with its fine food, wine and cultural distractions and they moved to Paris after the war; a move which was to change her life completely.
She became a devoted Francophile but was mostly enamoured by the French cooking - even simple street cafes could serve up delicious fare and Julia wanted to know more.
What is most fascinating about Julia Child is her utter immersion in French life.
She did return to the USA when her book 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' was published; at 734 pages long, it is a wonder it was ever such a success but cookery books were, at the time of its publication, gathering a new and enthusiastic audience, largely due to new 'technology' in the early 60s which made cookery of gourmet dishes more manageable by American housewives.
Child would have happily continued to live her French idyll, cooking French food and enjoying the French culture without any thoughts of publishing had it not been for two cookery friends she met in a women's cookery club called Cercle des Gourmettes. Her two friends Simone Beck, also an American and Louisette Bertholle really believed that Child had the gifts and talents to make French cooking go 'viral' in the USA. They convinced her to write her book.
The rest as they say, is history. Julia Child was 49 when the book was published and her TV show did not come onto TV until 1963.
Child enjoyed a long and successful publishing and TV career right up to the end of the 1990s and was often outspoken in her concerns about the way that food was being policed by government health agencies, she talked about a "fanatical fear of food" and worried that nutrition for its own sake would kill off enjoyment of food. Of course, at that time, the beginnings of the obesity culture were just taking hold - though most of this seems to have been by consuming fast food and full sugar soda rather than Sole Menieres and Chateau Neuf du Pape.
She died in 2004 just before her 92nd birthday. Creativity, joy and enthusiasm seems to have underpinned every aspect of her life - she approached French cooking initially, as a keen rookie but through her enthusiasm, belief and sheer determination, brought it to the U.S.A. both in print and through the media of TV and I am sure there are a great many Americans who are grafeful for it.
2. Alan Rickman - movie star at age 42
Alan Rickman has always been a creative man. Even as a young boy he was very artistic and when he won a art scholarship to Latymer Upper School, his mother was very proud of him.
He studied art extensively at Latymer and also dabbled in drama but when he left there aged 18, he went to the Royal College of Art becuase he did not see himself having much of a future in acting because he would not have any money.
After the Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art he created his own graphic design business called Graphiti with some colleagues from college and together they had three successful years before Alan decided that he could not ignore his love of drama and he left the business after getting a place at RADA.
By this time, he was already in a relationship with his long-time partner, Rima Horton whom he had met at Chelsea College of Art and Design but she believes in him to make this career change. I think we can assume they have no regrets, they are still together after 47 years.
Alan Rickman was successful at RADA and immediately after leaving he was offered theatre work. This was largely due to his success whilst at RADA where he won all three of the major drama prizes awarded to students. Whilst at RADA he earned money working as Sir Nigel Hawthorne's dresser in the theatre so before he left RADA he had already learned a great deal about the life of the theatre.
His love of the theatre took hom to the Ediburgh Fstival and also for a successful stint at the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford where he landed a number of starring roles.
He came to British TV audiences in Trollope's The Barchester Chronicles and in 1985 starring in Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereuses he won prizes and transferred to Broadway with the show, picking up a Tony for his performances.
But he was to be disappointed - when it transferred to the movie screen, he seemed like the natural choice to play Valmont but was overlooked in favour of John Malkovich.
And so cinema audiences (and he) had to wait a long time for Alan Rickman's first movie appearance, but what a performance it was - as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, voted one of the top 100 villains in cinema in 2009. Alan Rickman plays Gruber as a cold hearted, malevolent force of evil and it is difficult to imagine anyone else playing the role.
So as creative as he was at 15, winning a scholarship in art and moving to the Royal College of Art, he took a little while to really find worldwide fame. This seems to have come from his own desires to be led by things happening in his life at certain times.
Even now, with all of his reknown and fame, he is someone who picks and chooses his parts.
His love of the theatre has never diminished in spite of showing acting skills in both drama (Die Hard, Sense & Sensibility, Harry Potter series) and comedy (Galaxy Quest, Love Actually) and it seems he is an actor who has never really let go of his need for creativity in other artistic areas - he has continued to paint but is equally as famed for his lyric writing,poetry and also for his narration of other people's poetry, most notably Shakespeare's sonnets.
He is a man of many talents and creativity is like a well spring which he calls upon as his mood takes him.
We are all grateful for his contribution to stage and especially screen, even if he was 42 when he finally made it into our cinemas.
1. Kathryn Joosten - Emmy Award Winner and Successful Actress at 56
And finally on my list is Kathryn Joosten, a psychiatric nurse working in Chicago who, having ignored a lifelong desire to be an actress decided to take the plunge and take some acting lessons.
If Kathryn's rise to fame and her desire to cultivate her creativity doesn't inspire us all, I don't know what will.
Kathryn worked as a psychiatic nurse and raised two sons before divorcing her husband due to his alcoholism.
Her desire to get into acting came after her own mother, dying from cancer, revealed to Kathryn that she always regretted not following her own dream. This conversation took place when her mother was in hospital, close to death and Kathryn needed no final shove in the right direction.
For years, she had dreamt of pursuing a career in acting and after the conversation with her mother, she enrolled at the Steppenwolf Theatre and took acting lessons.
She stood for hours in a line to audition for a part at a Disney Park and got the part, travelling with her boys to Florida to take up her role, which lasted a year. She was not earning enough money to keep her and the boys so she took jobs through the day as a waitress and bartender.
Money was tight but she kept at her dream. When the job in Florida finished, she returned to Chicago and saw her sons through school.
In 1995, she took the plunge and drove to Hollywood in her truck. The only acting she had behind her were her stint in Florida and her acting lessons but she knew that this was her dream and no matter what, she had to be in the right place to see it through.
Her first role took her five moths to find but gradually she got roles on daytime soaps and other shows like Roseanne, Frasier and Murphy Brown.
Early on, it was just a line or two but eventually, she was considered a good option to play a certain type of role, mainly character based and she had a good style to her and a nice comic touch.
Her big break came as President Josiah Bartlet's secretary, Mrs Landingham. She played a pefect foil to Martin Sheen's Commander in Chief and was popular with audiences.
She was killed off when she died in a car crash in the show in 2001 but returned in flashback episodes such was her popularity.
Her stint in Frasier had shown her comic timing and she was eventually reunited with her 'boss' in Frasier, his agent Bebe (played to perfection by Harriet Sansom Harris) in Desperate Housewives.
She has also appeared in Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs, in the latter, she played the lead role in an episode called 'the old lady' where she chooses to spend her last days at a picnic on the grass with her family, aided and abetted by J.D. and Turk.
Kathryn has that 'nice next door neighbour' quality to her, she is engaging and fun.
Kathryn is an anti-cancer activist, having survived lung cancer and been told she was cancer clear in 2010. She uses her website and her twitter page to encourage fund-raising for cancer charities and it is important to remember that her acting came about because of her mother's death from cancer and of her understanding that life is short and she did not want to repeat her mother's regrets conversation with her own sons.
Of all of the people featured here, Kathryn Joosten is the most inspirational because she believed in her dream and never gave up. She has no tale to tell of being spotted by an agent; she spent her early acting roles dressed up as a Disney character and she STILL kept believing.
Her creativity was her driving force - when her life had to change to accommodate that dream, she changed it. I'm sure failure entered her head occasionally but I admire her tenacity and wish I could be more like her!
Thanks so much for reading this article. If you are a man or woman of a more senior disposition, I hope you will do something creative today - something to make your mind whirl and your heart swell.
No matter how old you are, creativity is ageless - it is a huge part of who we are and how we interact with the world and affords us the possibility of aging gracefully and feeling young, no matter what age we are.
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