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    You’ve got a blank canvas; now be creative and live fully alive
    • May 1, 2023

    Today’s world is rapidly changing, and so are our lifestyles and expectations of aging. Isn’t it just awesome to be alive in such a time as this, with its many beginnings and endings?

    Life is truly an exciting adventure. But sometimes, in this open field of opportunities, our choices are of such magnitude that it can seem overwhelming.

    Creative living in maturity requires us to once again become like children and endlessly ask, “What else could this be?” or “And now what?”

    Pablo Picasso once said: “It takes a long time to become young.” As we mature, let’s also become young. Let’s join in eager explorations of what might be possible and engage in greater learning and greater artistry in our lives. Just as an artist is faced with a blank canvas and the tools of the trade, so are we equipped with the blank canvas of the future and the tools of heart, mind and spirit.

    When we enter into our lives with the spirit of creativity, our experience offers us a way to become more original and inventive, and to feel more alive.

    There are myths that we may repeat that can inhibit our creativity if we let them – sayings like “I am not artistic” or “I don’t have any talent” or even “I’m too old for that.”

    Author Elizabeth Gilbert said, “To me overall, staying creative in old age requires an ongoing commitment to learning, growth and self-expression. With the right mindset and habits, it’s possible to continue to create and innovate throughout your lifetime. Creative living is any life that is guided more strongly by curiosity than fear.”

    Fear only keeps us from moving forward into exploring all that we can be. Creativity is our ability to bring something into existence – either something that has never existed before, or something that is a unique combination of what already exists.

    Being creative can be something as simple as finding a new use for a familiar object or a unique way of expressing ourselves. What is true is that we don’t have to be artistic to be creative. Sometimes, just using new words to describe ourselves will break us free of self-imposed limitations.

    Children will start and then start again, until someone tells them they can’t do something they think they can. Children can be shy or outgoing, boisterous or quiet, and they will choose their own pathway if left alone.

    People will say, “It’s just a stage she’s going through.” Let them say that about us!

    So what if you are not as strong as you used to be? So what if you can’t see as well as you used to see? So what if there are others who can do more than you?

    In a rapidly changing world, we only need to be creative to live fully alive.

    The Rev. Linda McNamar is a Laguna Woods Village resident.

    ​ Orange County Register