According to Erikson, Jung and other seminal thinkers on aging, when being old was still considered someone in their sixties, not possibly a centurion, if we have lived our lives well, we often make a U turn to creative aspects of ourselves that we left behind as children. Most of us became so enmeshed with daily routines or building lives consisting of work, marriage, frequently divorce, children and becoming whatever the word, or we, expected of ourselves.
Frequently, complications and somewhat of disintegrated families had to be dealt with, financial concerns and much else that had nothing to do with the white picket fence and Leave it to Beaver, June Cleaver, Father Knows Best, visions of life many of us grew up with.
I easily and somewhat red-faced remember, pre-women’s lib, being told by an esteemed university’s male dean, not to bother attempting admission for “after all you are a woman, you don’t live in the vicinity, you are married and will be having children soon.” A product of my times, though I knew they were discriminating, I didn’t argue and simply applied elsewhere. Eventually, as only one of two women in my graduate class in what was then a male dominated field, (My, has it changed, and I’m not sure it’s all for the better.) I received my degree and with my husband’s support began the realities of internships, practice, study, fun and family life. Looking back I don’t think I thought much about it all. I simply had a desire and plowed ahead.
Then came women’s lib, the pill, Vietnam, the Kennedy and King murders, gay uprising (My husband and I were anything but hippies, but we frequently ate at Stonewall because it was a good neighborhood hang-out). Sometimes, I was the only woman. But, I don’t think I even paid much attention to that until after the uprisings.
There’s something wonderful to having lived a full life and having lived through so many changes. I don’t want history, my very own history lost. But, now, simply as a factor of age, I’m once again part of a new pioneer generation, where I might die tomorrow or with the help of science live a very long time. It’s all a role of the dice.
I don’t think I‘m reinventing self. To me that’s an overused words that Bummer Boomer Madison Avenue has made popular. As we face new challenges, are we really reinventing? To me, that sounds as if I never was. No, I much rather like the ideas professed by some great and innovative thinkers ranging from Socrates to those mentioned above to Dr. Bill Thomas who I Interviewed as my guess on the last “On the Couch”.
I’m still me, perhaps slightly ahead of a populist curve, but me who is writing and thinking and returning to creativity once left at bay. I like Bill’s Second Wind book and even more, his interactive tour. He believes now is the time to navigate the passage into a Slower Deeper and More Connected Life. If you and I and we can do that, creativity will return. No, it’s not reinvention we are after, but rather that second wind behind our sails to continue to grow, age well and create.