Age Well the Artist’s Way

Friend of EngAGE Sue Ronnenkamp, MHA, sent along this recent article in which she shares her observations about creative aging.

Age Well the Artist’s Way

I’m working my way through Julia Cameron’s latest version of her 12-week “Artist’s Way” course in the new book, It’s Never Too Late to Start Again. I’ve made several journeys through this experience and benefit in positive ways every single time.

I’ve also been reminded once again of the amazing and lasting power of creativity and the arts. This rich resource can be tapped into at any time and greatly enhance the aging experience.

Let these 7 KEYS inspire you to get your creative juices flowing and add life to your years.  Don’t miss out!

  1. Creativity is the secret elixir of life. Famous creatives across a broad span of time demonstrate that vitality and longevity can come from the pursuit of art. This list includes Michelangelo (died at age 88), Frank Lloyd Wright (91), Pablo Picasso (91), Georgia O’Keefe (98), Martha Graham (96) and Jessica Tandy (85).
  2. Creativity doesn’t diminish with age. Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz summed this up best: “I don’t wake up as a nonagenarian [in his 90s]. I wake up as a poet. My imagination is just as intense and glowing as ever.” Research confirms this. We have the capacity for creative expression no matter our age, perhaps even more so as we grow older.
  3. Creativity erases both time and age. This is called “creative flow.” Notice this the next time you’re fully engrossed in some creative project – writing, sewing, painting, gardening, cooking, dancing, whatever you truly enjoy! Anything that has this power – at any age – is both a priceless gift and a great blessing.
  4. Creativity is good for our bodies and minds. It’s been proven that creativity also benefits physical health, and helps maintain strong neural networks and mental function into old age. So it’s not just a nice thing; it’s also important for quality of life and successful aging.
  5. Creativity doesn’t impose any deadlines. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” (George Eliot) Great LATE BLOOMER example: Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until age 78, when arthritis forced her to give up her embroidery work.  This new creative pursuit led to a late-in-life painting career and fame that continued until her death at age 101. You might not end up famous, but never shy away from creativity because of your age.
  6. Creativity has a practical side. Changes that come with aging can’t all be avoided, but they can be approached in many innovative ways. Benjamin Franklin demonstrated this form of artful aging when he invented bifocal glasses for his changing eyesight at age 78. How might you use creativity in this unique way and upgrade your aging experience?
  7. Creative or not – you can still reap the benefits. Simply enjoy and appreciate the arts in any form. Go to the theatre or opera, visit a museum, stop in for a book or poetry reading, attend a concert, read a great book, enjoy a creatively prepared meal, drink in the beauty of a professionally arranged bouquet of flowers. There are so many ways to be inspired in some artful way. Make this a regular practice and you’ll spark more creativity in your life. Your aging experience will be all the better for it!

Sue Ronnenkamp is an “Age Changent” for Baby Boomers and beyond – a play on “change agent” that enlivens her mission to shift the way we view and respond to aging in creative and positive ways. Visit her website at  



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