Category Archives: New Creativity At 60-plus

Reflections on One Year of Blogging

Blogging after 60

Reading my own blog is so surprising

Twelve months ago, Beyond 60 was born. What an interesting year it’s been.

Blogging Changes You

Who knew, that blogging changes your mind, and your life, in such subtle and delightful ways? Not me.

All small happenings and observations suddenly become potential blog posts.

A happy interlude in the garden, 10 minutes spent gazing into the cat’s luminous green eyes, frustration at the never-ending To Do list, a chance remark heard on the radio – it’s fodder.

I can while away hours composing trenchant and witty posts in my head (where, where?) – ah well, most of them don’t quite get written, but they do hang around, and gently nudge my thoughts and actions in refreshing new directions.

Getting Results

As far as numbers go, think small. A couple of posts a month. A handful of followers (not just my kith and kin). A few thrilling upward blips in the traffic stats, when a post was shared on Facebook and the hordes arrived…and left again.

It’s all good. I know that people read, because people comment. I have a feeling of an embryonic community.

Did I Really Write This?

Choosing topics has turned out to be a gut thing. On a day when there’s a chance to write, it’s whichever nebulous idea floats to the forefront that makes it to the page.

Oddly, when I look back it’s as if someone else wrote the posts. A wise person, who does interesting things and seldom upsets anyone, or herself. I’d like to be her, but it’ll take a while.

The most fun and the least predicted bit has been gravitating from pretty photos, to illustrating with a pin woman who lives in a collaged house. For someone who failed O-level Art at school, this is truly wonderful. Pin lady is out of proportion, wonky and hard to fathom, but she does the job and I just love spending time on her.

Feedback Good and Not So Good

What do people think of my blog? Immodestly, I might quote some praise (hell, why not): Love this gentle, beautiful and vivid description of your day. Thank you, kind reader.

Ruefully, let me share the views of the thumbs-downers: I don’t like this kind of thing and I probably won’t read it again. That is telling me. How about this:  It’s very ‘I-orientated’ isn’t it…?

Yes, it is. But if I can’t write as ‘I’ at 60+ then when, oh when?

My gremlins have enjoyed inflicting massive attacks of self-doubt ‘Joan Bakewell wouldn’t like your blog, it isn’t political enough. Do you know nothing of current affairs, Lightweight?’ ‘Virginia Woolf would be underwhelmed.’  ‘The woman over the road will think you’re daft.’ And so on. Fortunately, I am going deaf.

It has taken TIME in shedloads and has been a work in itself to stay clear of the ‘Should’s’ – you should post weekly, ok fortnightly, monthly, regularly. Fact is, I can’t. Posting whenever has to be good enough.

Though it hasn’t turned out like I thought, it has brought me a whole lot of satisfaction and great new people, not just those who follow Beyond 60, but those who’ve read and commented on my guest posts for Margaret Manning’s remarkable Sixty and Me.

Happy Birthday, Beyond 60!

A blog is a project, and a baby, and a creative work. It needs time, thought, polish, love. And more time.

I’m setting a few birthday desires for Year 2 of Beyond 60.

Be briefer
Be funnier
Keep on with pin lady
No self-flagellation please
Remember poet Mary Oliver’s profound advice: Things take the time they take. Don’t worry.

Don’t you just love that?

It’s in that spirit I wish my beauteous blog, Beyond 60, a very Happy Birthday, and offer it the gift of doing the best I can do to help it grow, using whatever time and energy I have available, no more, no less.

Dear blog, continue to flourish.

Why play a musical instrument? Because it feels so good…


I’m not going to tell you that I play the flute to stave off dementia, keep my brain cells alive, or because I was inspired by some internet list of Things to do when you’re over 60 which always seem to feature ’Play a musical instrument’.

No, I choose to grapple with a 2-foot long tube of metal equipped with a lot of holes and a mouthpiece so badly designed it takes a week before a beginner can get a single note out of it, because of the amazing feelings I get from playing it.

There’s a delicious excitement, which starts in the pit of the stomach, and tingles down the spine. It’s usually momentary, and doesn’t happen that often, but it is just delightful. I call it ‘that feeling’ to myself, and I’m always hoping for it in any rehearsal. It’s most likely to hit me when I’m playing in an orchestra for a bar or two everything comes together and my puny effort becomes part of something much, much bigger. That’s making music.

Then there’s the adrenalin-boosting thrill where I actually feel my heart beating faster in a section where I’m waiting to put in a flutey ‘peep’, off the beat, one note repeated, getting louder and louder as the orchestra build up to some kind of orgasm underneath me – whoa, steady on, but it really does have that quality of growing excitement, being swept along and just having to do that peep, peep, peep in the right place, with more and more urgency…

Add to this the sense of disbelieving satisfaction that I can actually DO IT. On the odd occasions when a swift string of notes comes out at the right speed, in the right order, and with my fingers apparently acting independently from the rest of my body, just instinctively knowing what to do. If only I could apply that in other areas of life!

Another feeling to treasure is the sound a flute makes, the way it resonates right through my body, when all I did was put my lips together… There’s a deep, woody, richly vibrating tone that the flute can make in its lower register. It’s gorgeous. And amazingly, I can produce that sound.

Those are the feelings I get from the playing of the instrument, but along with those are the fun of mixing with other amateur musicians. The laughter – I have been doubled over and speechless with mirth because my duet pal and I were playing so magnificently, appallingly badly! And there’s also the shared endeavour, the sense that ‘we will get this right, if it kills us!’ Working together, trying to play a tricky passage, taking it over and over again until suddenly, Hey – we did it!

There’s a meditative benefit from flute-playing as well. On my own, when I’m a bit tired, or bored, or sad, I can take the flute out of its box and give it a polish, and tootle through some simple little tunes and magically remove myself from the here and now and give my brain a place to rest and concentrate which doesn’t allow for anxieties or sorrows.

Yes, all of that is why I play the flute. I don’t do it because it’s good for me, I do it because I love it, and even when it’s been so hard to master that I could have cried or snapped it in two across my knee, I still have never wanted to give up.



Project Finished! New Creativity After 60

Look at this amazing purple beast! The final result from my beginner’s stab at upholstery.


Here’s the shabby, dishevelled item it used to be – some transformation, eh!

A chair in need of re-upholstery

Before, it was hidden away under a blanket, too tatty to see the light of day. Now, I drag people off the street to admire it, and every morning take my lovely new velvet brush and perform the satisfying ritual of pile-alignment .

My only problem is that people, and cats, are drawn to it like a magnet – they want to sit on it, for heaven’s sake!

Happy with my creative project, I did learn that I am not a born upholsterer. Tools and I don’t really get on. Tacks and nails fall out or go in on the wonk. I’m too scared to cut. The best bits  were anything to do with fabric, smoothing on wadding, stitching a horsehair lumbar support with string.

None of that mattered though, because I was so well taught by Libby at Bungay upholsterers Perkins & Gibbs.  That woman has the glorious knack of the born teacher of enthusing, demonstrating  and quietly helping (a lot!) so that any hapless student who has bitten off far more than she can chew still ends up full of a sense of achievement.

The real joy, has been in working with others around, all of them are grappling with their own projects.

Even more fun than the process of bringing my weary old chair back to life has been the pleasure of being in the studio amid the quiet buzz of talk and banter, with the interesting people who go there, the dogs who wander in and out, the swags of fabric hanging up, the air of creativity, the sense of connection that Libby and Tam create.

That studio’s a life-enhancing place and I quite fancy upholstering my entire house now, just so I can go back there every couple of weeks for another dose.

It’s great to take on long-neglected creative projects now that there’s a bit more time in life, and some can even be tackled alone. But what I learned this time round is how much more enjoyable it is to go and share the whole thing with a bunch of people who, just at the moments when I was thinking anxiously, this is very purple, had a knack of saying – gorgeous colour.

Do you get a tingle of desire at the thought of making something? Got a project you want to start? Where does the joy lie in creativity for you? Do comment in the box below. And if you enjoy exploring the ins and outs of life beyond 60 with us, enter your email in the box up at the top of the page and you won’t miss a thing. 

Embracing the Unexpected at 60+

In the spirit of Finding New Creativity Over 60, I signed up for a workshop on Concrete Poetry run by the Creative Working Lives group.

A what? If you who know about Dada and the Surrealists you’ll be nodding wisely at this point, but I didn’t have a clue.

But nothing ventured…and it was interesting – spending a day at a long table with a dozen or so others, rearranging random words, making masks, snipping, sticking, writing and generally messing around.

I learned something about poetry, art, surrealism and the glee to be had from in unleashing my inner 5-year old. I also revisited a long-lost wail of ‘I can’t do this….’, and then found that maybe I just about can.

But what I learned most, was the extraordinary power of the unexpected.

Embrace the Unexpected

Because strangely, the gift of the day was not the chance to play, or the feeling of community in the room.

No, it was none of that. It came instead in a conversation with someone else on the course, that sprang up like a Spring storm and died away again just as quickly.

Maybe it was the art that opened the door, or the air of risk-taking and experimentation.

Maybe it was the influence of the letter I wrote from my 80-year-old self, who wants me to be more open.

Whatever the spark, this person simply sat down beside me as I worked and began quietly to talk about a recent and very painful experience in his life, a near-loss which had affected him profoundly.

It felt natural for me to carry on with my cutting and sticking, and let our talk flow effortlessly and honestly into discussing losses in both our lives.

How there are things that can’t be spoken of – until suddenly they can.

How very long it sometimes takes to even begin the drawn-out process of grieving.

How sorrow can resurface years later and feel just as scalding as it did early on, and then drop away again, leaving a sense of release and relief.

The Unexpected Happens in the Moment

His ease in launching into that conversation was the most unexpected and memorable part of a day that was filled with the unexpected and memorable.

And made me aware, not at the time, but now, that perhaps one hidden purpose of this blog is to find a sideways route into writing about grief in a way that heals.

Our talk ended as suddenly as it had begun with the call ‘5 minutes until we’re done!’, and with no acknowledgement of what had been said we both turned to focus on finishing off our pieces of work.

Creativity opens channels. If there’s any message here, it’s to remember that, and explore it.

What have you learned unexpectedly, through trying something new? Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Write a Letter from Your Older Self

Dear Younger Me…with love from Older Me

Do you ever spend time with your older Self?

Virginia Woolf referred to her older self as ‘Old V’ in her diaries, and this week I’ve brought my own ‘Old E’ to life, in the interesting exercise of writing myself a letter, from me – at 80.

Taking a bit of time to get inside the head of the future you is very different from merely thinking about getting older.

For me the age of 80, though scarcely imminent, isn’t so far in the dim and distant that it’s completely unimaginable. Imagining it is scary, but it’s fruitful too. Will I even get there? Only one of my parents made it into the ninth decade, and that by a hairsbreadth.

Today, I’ll assume that nature will be kind, and fast forward into my older body and mind.

Imagine Yourself at 80

Try it. Sit for a moment, and look at the backs of your hands. How will they look different when you’re 80? Who will you be, years hence? What will be important? And what wisdom does Old You have to share with your younger self?

Le the thoughts settle, then start writing.

Older E turns out to be a force to reckon with. She kicks off: ‘…I’m not “Old E”…I don’t feel old. I’m still not entirely grown up.’

She challenges me to be bold:  ‘…don’t wind down, it’s too soon. You know those richly creative dreams that swirl around in your head…do me a favour, dear younger me, and give up playing safe!’

Let Go of Your Censor

When you write your letter from older you, aim for free flow. Write as you’d speak. Your older self will be a lot  like the current you in the way they speak and think, so don’t use a voice that doesn’t ring true.

Let your inner thoughts come to the fore. Older E knows I’m afraid of looking stupid – she says:

Write stuff. Never mind what people think. People don’t really care that much about what you do, so get over it!

And she offers me reasons not to be scared: …Lead a rich life – think BIG – give me some lovely excitement and adventure to look back on.

She knows what’s good for me, and admonishes me to keep going: …the meditation, it’s so good for you, for me, for us. Learn to know yourself as well as you can, then maybe I won’t need to make quite so much effort at breaking our painful old patterns of anger and defensiveness because you’ll have done the work for me. 

Write to Yourself with Compassion

Don’t use your letter as a chance to berate yourself for any shortcomings. Imagine that you’re writing with love and compassion, to help someone you care for deeply. …what I’m saying here dearest is not here’s a huge to do list, but be kind to yourself and just do your best

You can use your letter to give valuable reminders. Old E insists: Eat wisely and never get above a size 12 – I do NOT want to be matronly.

She advises me to …go easy on the gin, stop being a wuss and get on the bike, go swimming, dance round the kitchen. Have lots of laughs, have fun! It’s up to you whether I’m fit and supple or creaky and cantankerous. 

You’re In This Together

Your Older and Younger selves are one and the same, and what younger you does now can have a profound effect on older you’s experience of ageing. Not that Old E likes that ‘ageing’ label. She says:

Keep your zest for life, stay young at heart and never refer to yourself as an old lady – that’s a label reserved for centenarians.

There’s a surprising amount to learn from spending some time with the Future You. Give it a try, and please leave a comment below and tell us what you’ve discovered.


Finding Time To Blog After 60

Time starts behaving very strangely when the familiar old constraints of job and family weaken their grasp or disappear entirely.

It is more than easy to drift through the days, mooching round the garden, turning out drawers, fiddling about on the computer, seeing friends, reading in the morning – I know, outrageous – and so, time sifts away.

It is an incredible privilege to be able to drift through the days for the first time ever since I was packed off to infants’ school aged 4. All those years under the cosh of the timetables, working hours, deadlines and routines.

It’s time to break free.

But to create Beyond 60 and do it well needs time, not drifty time, but focussed creative time.

I want to do it. The idea fires me up. Yet time is slippery, and elusive.

Here’s how I’ve managed to grab hold of a bit, and use it to make something happen.

The 10-minute trick
Snip out a 10-minute segment. Set a timer. Give that 10 minutes full attention and go like the clappers until ‘Brrring!’ – time to stop, but I nearly always keep going. And if I don’t, well, even 10 minutes is worth doing.

Use the right label
When I call my blog ‘work’, I feel ill. Seriously, my chest feels tight, I sit rubbing my forehead saying ‘ergh…’ and I do not feel at all well.

When I think of it as messing about with my blog, doodling with a few ideas because I feel like it – then it’s smiles all the way and a couple of hours gone by, and I walk away saying, ‘that was FUN!’.

Drop the deadlines
I’ve got a blog vision but there’s no rush to get there. One step at a time is all it needs. Keep doing it and don’t give up. But no self-flagellation, please. An hour here and there is ample.

Stop should-ing on myself
When the gremlin voices point out that I ‘should’ be: posting more often, conquering WordPress, making it look prettier etc et-flaming-cetera I offer them a two-word response, and get back to playing.

Experiment with resistance
Whenever I think I can’t be arsed, it’s too much work, no one will read it and so maybe I won’t do it – that’s the time to dance with resistance, play with it, tease it – do anything that’s light and fun to overcome it and use it to catapult me into something new and different.

I love these little tricks because they feel radical and completely opposite to the way I used to work, when work was what I did. And they make blogging feel exciting and fun.

Brrring! There goes the timer.

But before I go, do any of these ideas appeal to you? Have you any tips to help find time for precious creative projects? Please leave a comment below.

Living Dangerously Beyond 60

Egg-diving illustration © Clare Nesbitt

I watched Dr Bill Thomas, a great mover and shaker in the field of creative ageing, talking on the remarkable Growing Bolder website the other night, on how to change the way you view ageing.

His message was simple, and his final piece of advice really struck me. He said, ‘Live dangerously,  because the mortality rate is 100%. And you have a chance now to live more dangerously than you ever lived before.’

That was it.

I kept thinking about that statement. Live Dangerously. What does it mean? Bungee jumping? Egg-diving? Aren’t there other ways, not involving broken limbs, that I – that you – could live dangerously as we get older?

While that was on my mind,  I read blogger Mark Manson on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***

I use asterisks, as I’m not ready to use four-letter words on my blog, but Manson, described by the Huffington Post as, ‘…incredibly inspiring, deeply philosophical and extremely clever’, uses the undoctored profanity  as a way into an exploration into the importance of choosing what’s really important in our lives, and what isn’t.

He made me laugh, a lot.

He also made me think.

He says that throughout our lives, we give a f*** about far too many things. At Beyond 60, these could include cat-sick on the carpet; missing an episode of Desert Island Discs;  running out of Earl Grey teabags, or gin.

But in truth, these trivial items are really not worth giving a f*** about. And, says Manson,  there are only so many f***s you can give in a lifetime, so you’d better choose them carefully, because: ‘Developing the ability to control and manage the f***s you give is the essence of strength and integrity.’

And also, I’d say, the key to living a more dangerous and fulfilling life.

So back to Dr Bill and the question, how to live dangerously?

It’s about taking risks, emotional risks, and you can do it by embracing the things you truly give a f*** about and giving them your all.

Me, I give a f*** for talking, writing and blogging about what matters, like the fact that time is of the essence, because death is not so far away for any of us;  that retirement can leave an exciting and at the same time terrifying void in our lives; and that there’s this chance here, right now, to have an adventure, push ourselves, move out of what’s comfortable, and into what scares us.

Yes, do it kindly, one small step at a time. But do just f***ing do it.

What steps could you take, to live dangerously? Please leave a comment in the box – let’s be dangerous together!

How not to write Morning Pages

Notebooks full of  Morning Pages

Notebooks full of
Morning Pages

Following on from my earlier post on The Artists Way for Retirement (published in the USA as It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again), one of the key tasks and a daily part of the process is the writing of Morning Pages.

Julia Cameron is precise in her instructions for writing Morning Pages.

Do them early.
Use 3 pages of A4.
Cover the whole width of the page and don’t use paragraphs.
Write everything, no censoring, editing or pondering.
Don’t re-read. Don’t let anyone see your writing.
Pour the contents of your mind out on to the page and see where it leads you.

Sounds easy, especially for an inveterate diary writer like me. Yet somehow it was no surprise when on the first day the Gremlins of Resistance peered over my shoulder.

‘Don’t worry if you don’t get round to Morning pages til 10pm,’ they murmured. ‘A4’s far too big, it’ll take forever to cover 3 pages of that. Spread it all out, you’ll get done quicker. Be careful what you write, you don’t want to give too much away. Write as if someone was going to read it.’

Brief, scrappy and over-thought Morning Pages

Brief, scrappy over-thought Morning Pages

As I frequently forget to ignore my gremlins, I went along with them. The pages looked like this.

Writing them took less than 30 minutes.

It felt like another rushed job on the tick-list, something to gallop through, self-censoring all the while.

I continued like this for several weeks, and even though I was so thoroughly ignoring the instructions, the Morning Pages did still work some magic.

I began to discover things I’d forgotten I liked to do. Started making some changes, a few decisions.

Then, about 3 weeks from the end of the whole process, I re-read Julia Cameron’s instructions and decided to give them a proper shot, smother the pages with writing and say whatever came into my mind.

Full-width, no paragraphs, no self-editing

Full-width, no paragraphs, no self-editing

Now, the pages looked like this. It took an hour to do them. It felt as if I was getting somewhere, it was fun, and soon I was pouncing on my notebook first thing every morning.

I discovered that when you have to fill 3 large pages, you are forced to go deeper. There’s only so much fluff you can write down. And there’s a joy to producing a messy, illegible sprawl of writing, covering the lines, falling off the edges.

The Morning Pages agreed, and pointed me in new directions, towards interesting discoveries. Writing at length was a major key to working out what it was I needed to be doing to re-create my life post-retirement.

Try Morning Pages. They have a lot to tell you. But if you want to get the most from the process, shut your gremlins in the cellar and follow the instructions.

Elizabeth Martyn: Beyond 60

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Two inspiring Norfolk artists

Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames: Unearthed

Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames

Artists Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames

I encountered Annie and Anthea one bright but chilly October morning in Anteros Gallery in Norwich, as they were enjoying a coffee in the sun dappled gallery.

On the walls, in their exhibition Unearthed, hung a mix of Annie’s drawings and Anthea’s paintings, complementing each other perfectly.

Anthea uses earthy colours, beautifully textured blocks of subtle blue, russet brown, dark red and creamy yellow, while Annie draws in bold sweeps of charcoal higlighted with smudges of chalk gathered on Cromer beach.

Annie moved to Norfolk from Cumbria 2 years ago. Her heart’s still in limestone country, but she loves the coastal erosion on the Norfolk coast and is excited by its artistic possibilities.

Natural pigments made by Anthea, including a bowl of her own richly black charcoal

Natural pigments made by Anthea, including a bowl of her own richly black charcoal

Anthea collects pigments from all over the world, and was displaying Sahara sand and ochre from Cromer as well as intensely black charcoal that she makes herself.

Her son lives in Australia and she also goes to Africa to teach, which gives her an opportunity to gather raw materials.

‘Drawing on linen was like drawing on a grater,’ says Annie, and she found that Anthea’s  charcoal was the perfect medium to show off the texture of the fabric.

Karst 1 by Annie Hudson

Karst 1 by Annie Hudson

Both women returned to art after bringing up families. Annie says, ‘I brought up my kids single-handed, it was an intense time, and I didn’t start working full-time in art again until I was 50.’

There’s a lot to explore through art at this time of life. ‘I don’t think you know what you want to say until you’ve matured,’ Anthea says.

‘Young artists now are told if you haven’t made it by the time you’re 30, you won’t make it, but I didn’t graduate from art school until I was 40! Now there’s a sense that time is precious, and I say to myself, “Come on woman, get on with it!”‘

A collaborative piece by Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames

A collaborative piece by Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames

I felt very inspired by the collaboration of these two artists on this stunning exhibition, both by the confidence and expertise shown in their work, and by their attitude towards making and showing their art. Embracing their maturity and wisdom,  they use those layers of experience help them to create works with depth and meaning.

I visited the exhibition right at the end of its run, but you can see plenty of examples of Annie’s and Anthea’s work, find out more about them, and arrange a studio visit on their websites:
Elizabeth Martyn: Beyond 60

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The Artist’s Way for Retirement

The Artist's Way for Retirement
I have just finished working, writing, thinking, walking and dating my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for Retirement.

Dating? Yes indeed – taking a weekly Artist Date  –  an outing planned purely for my enjoyment, learning and delight – has been a wonderful part of the process.

On my Artist Dates I’ve sampled a silversmithing class, joined the upholstery club, browsed a huge junk furniture emporium and a vintage clothes shop, joined in with a  Buddhist meditation session, cycled to a garden centre to choose tulip bulbs, and gone to London to see a surreal exhibition by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican Centre. It’s very likely I’d have allowed myself none of these pleasurable excursions without the prompt of Artist Dating.

Writing Morning Pages

Julia Cameron describes Morning Pages as, ‘Three daily pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done first thing in the morning, “for your eyes only”.’

The reality of that is an hour’s worth of pouring your guts out on to the page, which has turned out to be a lot more enjoyable and useful than it sounds.

Writing Morning Pages almost daily for 3 months began as a chore, and became a habit I don’t want to stop, and have picked up again now the course is finished, in a slightly shorter form. Free writing provides a way in to deeper thoughts, emotions and desires. I’ve unearthed dreams I didn’t even know about, and begun putting some of them into action.

Morning Pages also give a way to explore what it means to be at this stage of life, where work is no longer the driver for getting out of bed in the morning, and the family have taken themselves off and are getting their own breakfasts in cities far away. A phase of life when there may be a lot of time to be spent, without the structure that went before.

That’s exciting, but also unnerving. What if I don’t use this time properly? What is properly? Suppose I die before I’ve done anything useful with my life? What shall I do? And whatever I choose, suppose I fail? What is any of it all about?

Plenty to think about there, so it’s no surprise that following The Artist’s Way for Retirement from start to finish took more than the 12 weeks prescribed by the author, who offers one chapter per week. Each chapter focuses on reigniting a new feeling – a sense of wonder, a sense of freedom, a sense of creativity. Some chapters interested me more than others, and took longer, and I spent about 16 weeks completing the whole book.

Julia Cameron’s style is warm and encouraging, but sometimes a bit cloying for this Brit’s taste. I preferred it when the tasks and exercises were straightforward, although oddly  when I began to follow the instructions and ask for guidance in my morning writing,  answers did begin to appear on the pages. Things I’d known all the time, but hadn’t quite managed to access before.

I also found a lot of synchronicity turning up as I started to take action to change my life, as people and opportunities began to appear miraculously at just the right moment. My own take on this is that once you commit to doing something and begin it, things start to fall into place. Maybe that’s simply the same thing as synchronicity.

Writing The Memoir

Writing the Memoir, another running task through the whole book, was the hardest for me. It’s only now that I’ve reached the end, having dashed something off quickly every week,  that I realise how much has been stirred up from the depths of my memory pond. Thoughts, dreams and ideas that have been down there a long time in the silt are starting to drift up to the surface, propelling me to rediscover pursuits I enjoyed in the past but had given up on, or even forgotten.

Finishing The Artist’s Way for Retirement

So what do you do when the book’s over? My plan now is gradually to look back at what I’ve done, take some time to reflect, then begin again and go through the whole process a second time, selecting the parts I want to concentrate on. I suspect it will feel quite different, and deeper.

And this time I will write about it all in this blog – which only came into being as a result of following The Artist’s Way in Retirement. It was during Week 10, Reignite a Sense of Vitality that Beyond 60 punched its way out and started strutting around in my mind demanding that I just go online – now, please – and give birth to an idea that had been gestating for months if not years.

By pure synchronicity, finding Julia Cameron’s inspiring book came at exactly the right moment. It was 18 months since my final days of work, which had been a  period of recalibration and questioning and not knowing quite what to do. I’m still working on that, but I’ve got many more ideas and possibilities and had my curiosity and energy piqued and sparked by this excellent book.

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