Anyone reading our blog of late has probably concluded I’m
obsessed with turning 60. Now while that
might be an exaggeration, I am more likely to read articles and pay attention
to news shows featuring the topic of aging.
That is why I read with interest an article in the New York Times
last Sunday by Peggy Klaus called, Embrace
Your Age and Conquer the World. I
don’t know about conquering the world so much, but maybe conquering my own
world would be a worthy pursuit. Klaus
argues that in spite of, or perhaps because of, ageism (discrimination based on
age) we Baby Boomers should “start to own, even embrace, how old we are”. She says it’s the perfect time for a major
cultural attitude adjustment. Hmmm,
maybe this aging thing just got a lot better, I thought to myself.
Klaus cited a Northwestern University study in which the
author opined that people who are 55 and even 65 have more innovation potential
than 25 year olds. Benjamin Jones noted
in a paper titled, “Age and Great Invention” there has been a large upward
trend in the age at which innovators begin their active careers.
A CBS Morning Show last week featured Jeffrey Kluger of
Time Magazine in a segment called
“Awesome Aging”. Kluger contends
creativity increases with age. He
referenced studies that have found the brain continues to grow in those areas
involving creativity. The very deterioration we dread actually enhances
creativity. Kluger says, “The walls
break down. It’s no longer language in
the left hemisphere and art in the right.
There is a free flow of information back and forth.” He added, “Wisdom is a bi-product of
creativity. What is wisdom but creative
thinking?” This must be why Frank Lloyd
Wright, Pablo Picasso, and even Galileo did some of their best work in their
I can’t tell you how affirming these two articles are. Creativity is a central thesis of Be Brave. Lose the Beige (our blogsite
and book title). We go so far as to urge
people to “exercise” their creative muscles.
adults, we have come to recognize the validity of exercising our bodies and
minds, but somehow, once we get past the age of ten, we often pay less
attention to our creative muscles. And,
just like physical muscles that fail to be engaged, so can our creative muscles
begin to atrophy. Creativity is not just about participating in the visual or performing
arts. It’s a way of thinking about and
approaching one’s life, a way of viewing the world. It’s doing mundane things in a novel
way. Even a little creative thinking can
produce seismic changes in our lives.
While I have always enjoyed participating in
creative activities, I’m feeling as though I’m on creativity steroids at this
point in my life (at age 60). My brain
is a virtual popcorn machine with new ideas/creative thoughts continuously popping
up (probably more because of my ADD brain).
My husband and I consider ourselves entrepreneurs. I think we must
conceive of new business ideas every other day. The process of conception
(much like in the other kind of conception process) is the fun part– the brain
storming process; the excitement of a new idea; the hope of making the idea an
income producing one…
So, I agree with Peggy Klaus. This is a perfect time for a major cultural
attitude adjustment, and let’s start with us-
the Boomer Generation. After all,
there are a lot of us- 80 million to be precise. Rumor has it over half of us will celebrate
our 100th birthday and beyond.
How do you plan to creatively spend these next 20, 30, or 40 years?