On Creativity

I am currently doing a course from University of the Third Age Online. It is called Unleashing Your Creative Spirit. I am keen to run this Course in 2020 through our local U3A.

I have met a lot of people in early retirement who find themselves wondering what has happened to them with all the changes of no longer being in the workforce. I have noticed that lots of people, me included, have a list of project we have always wanted to do when we got the time.

Well, we have the TIME now but struggle to make these projects happen. I have been wondering why that is. Some of my projects include learning calligraphy, making personalised greeting cards, sewing (I bought a nice new but basic sewing machine) photography (I purchased a digital camera) and writing. I also like doing WordPress websites for friends.

This course is great in that it looks at what motivates us to be creative and at what situations create blockages. It emphasises that a part of creativity is actually ‘work’ and organisation. That surprised me, silly as it may sound. I had thought that being creative was purely stuff you did for fun and quite different to what we do for work.

It was a bit of a light-bulb moment when I realised the ‘work’ aspect of creativity is the main cause of my not completing my projects. A small project I am working on involves using some photos of wildflowers to create greeting cards. My first big hurdle was I didn’t know how to print the photos even though I have a modern printer. I did persevere and had success!

I feel I have learnt a lot already and I can see lots of opportunities for exploring new skills and enjoyment along the way.

Hobbies and Interests

18 February 2014 006 (Copy)In 2010 I ceased working full-time and moved to the South West to enjoy the wonderful experience of not having to set the alarm and get up and go to work. Funnily enough, I still wake up early most days even though I don’t set the alarm.

I have been grappling with what best to do with my time now. I have tried a range of things, including self-employment, volunteer work, gardening, blogging and recently I joined a creative writing group.

Through most of my life I have gone along with what others are doing. I think being the youngest of five children means I am used to fitting it with the majority.

It is only now that I realise that I haven’t taken much time to pursue leisure activities that are truly my OWN interests.

Put simply, I don’t know what I want! I am working on it though and have taken some steps in that direction.

My reason for this blog today is to remind people (younger people) to make time to have some interests outside of work so that when it comes to retiring, you can look forward to spending more time doing what you love. Cultivate your interests during your working life so that it provides another avenue for finding satisfaction and fulfillment at that later stage.

Well, that’s my take on it :-). What do others think?

Fifty something …

MondayI want to point out to the world that people over 50 have a lot to offer. I want to point this out to all age groups but especially to people who are past 50 or thereabouts.

I get tired of hearing people talk about retirement. Retirement belongs to the previous generations – our parents and their parents (if they lived long enough). I am not suggesting that we keep working at a job we hate or find too difficult. I am saying that we need to pause and reflect on this phase of our lives. You may need to keep working at your job due to financial pressures but is there the capacity to reduce your hours?

Consider the following:

• Is there so much more you would like to be doing with your time?

• Do you have interests that you would like to pursue now but don’t have the time?

• This period of our lives (say 45 – 80ish) is likely to be very different than it was for our parents who were born before World War II

• If you are anticipating using your time to catching up on years of reading, and are happy to do that, then that is fine. Read no further!

• Maybe you want to spend more time with your grandchildren or are artistic and enjoy you leisure time in these pursuits and find them to be gratifying.

• Do you get up each morning and wonder what is the point of getting up as you did yesterday what you will do again today and the day after?

• Do you get irritable because the world seems to be run by young people – eg doctors, the media, some politicians that don’t look old enough to vote?

• Does your brain still function the way it used to, or is it even better now that you have abandoned a lot of the crap that came from working full-time and the office politics?

• Are you unsure of how to dress – you don’t want to be masquerading as a young person? How do you see yourself?

• Are you able to graciously profess your views without getting defensive when younger people see your views as obsolete?

• Consider how you plan to spend the next 20-30 years? Do you want to sit around getting old and immobile? If you are still actively involved in sport, then good for you!

• Is there a way we can collectively find a valuable place in society that breaks the common stereotypes of the over fifties?

• Does social media provide us with an avenue to express ourselves and perhaps help others at the same time?

• How would you feel about using some of your skills or developing new skills to assist the community to improve health, education and environmental outcomes?

• How would you feel about gaining your community’s respect and gratitude for the use of these skills?

• Would you be prepared to work for a nominal amount that Not For Profits could afford?

• Can you see the difference between this idea and the tremendous work that thousands of volunteers already do each day in Australia (and other parts of the world)?

• Can you make sense of all of the above and are excited about contributing ideas on how we can change this concept into reality?

If you would like to get more involved with me on this project you can email me on reoh@iinet.net.au

Thanks for reading 🙂

The age-old questions

“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

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Some people are really sensitive about their age and try to hide the truth from others – leave them guessing! For me, from an early age I looked older than my contemporaries. I think it is fair to say that trait has stayed with me so I just accept it. In fact, I often tell people how old I am just in case they think I am older!

My 29th birthday is the only one I really stressed over. Leaving my twenties behind seemed really significant at the time. I had three young children by that time. Sometimes I reflect on my life in decades, as follows:

0-10   All that childhood stuff

10-20   Probably the worst decade of my life – being a teenager is tough!

20-30   I enjoyed trying to be the model “Earth Mother”, baking my own bread etc and enjoying my young children

30-40   Wow! What happened? My life turned up-side-down with a broken marriage and being single again with young children

40-50   Life started to really improve at this point. I had a good job, mortgage and started getting my act together (at last!)

50-60   Well, I am not quite there yet. I have my sixtieth birthday later this year but this decade has been really good so far. I don’t know how I feel about turning sixty. I am aware that quite a few people I went to school with haven’t made it this far and I feel really grateful that I have.

60-70   Well, I feel fairly positive about the future. I have strong feelings about people in my age group continuing to play an active part in our world (however that translates for each of us). You might want to check out my other blog at http://www.encoreaustralia.wordpress.com. It has some great links relevant to this age group.

I am looking for ideas on how to celebrate my sixtieth, so send them through please. Big parties have no appeal, nor does jumping out of a plane – something a little less dramatic would be good 🙂

 

 

The power of giving up or letting go …

I met a friend for coffee yesterday afternoon. We hadn’t seen each other for a while. We talked about what work opportunities were about and what we both have done recently. I said to her, ‘I am not looking for work at the moment. I just want to focus on my studies.’

We parted and I walked the short distance home. I had only been home a couple of minutes and the phone rang. I had applied for a writing job last October but wasn’t successful. The newspaper rang me to ask if I was still interested and if I would like to come in on Monday for an interview. It is only for 8 hours a week and could be fun. I will wait and see how the conversation goes on Monday.Capture 6This was the first time in four years since I left full time work that I actually stated that I am not looking for work. Isn’t life funny sometimes – the way things work out?

 

 

 

 

 

Passages/Stages/Phases

I am currently reading The Big Shift: Navigating to the New Stage Beyond Midlife, by Mark Freedman. As a result of learning about Marc and the Encore movement I decided to start-up a blog/website called Encore Australia.

I am hoping to tap into the numbers of baby boomers in Australia who are currently trying to navigate the second half of their lives in the 21st Century with out-dated guidance from the previous century.

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My own experience bears witness to the uncharted terrain traversed after giving up full-time employment. I now feel better informed due to reading Marc Freedman’s book and finding other resources on the internet.

An interesting organisation I found today is The Transition Network.  It provides a range of services to women 50+.

Once again, I am looking for similar resources that may be available in Australia. I will do some more research tomorrow 🙂

 

My love/hate relationship with studying

In the second half of last year I did a unit of study titled Production, Editing and Design. At the conclusion of the unit (I passed comfortably) I stated to many friends and family that I am NOT going to do any more studying. I admit that the editing part really did my head in. Also my tutor was not very helpful. The feedback she provided was inadequate – she would just say ‘that is wrong’ but not give me any clues about HOW it was wrong!

I thought I could edit pretty well but I discovered it is very difficult. One thing I still haven’t mastered is the use of dashes and hyphens.

Do you know that there are:

  • en dashes (the width of the letter n)
  • em dashes (the width of the letter m)
  • double en dashes
  • double em dashes
  • em/en dashes with spaces

Keep in mind that hyphens are another class again! Do you get the picture?

So … I have one more unit to complete to achieve my Graduate Certificate. I was scheduled to do Communication Practices in the second half of this year. I rang the uni to check its scheduling and they asked if I would like to substitute that unit and do a different one this semester. So … I put in an application and it was approved yesterday. I start studying again in two weeks time. I wonder if I will regret this decision!

This unit will be different as it is a creative writing unit (Authorship and Publication) and hopefully there will be a different tutor!