Reinvention

Adventures in Art

Getting Started

I surprised myself today by submitting an application to a local art show for closet artists.  Since leaving my corporate job in 2014, I’ve had time to take watercolor classes and a pastel class.  It’s so much fun!

Paint Pouring

Then, my girlfriend invited me to do paint pouring (also called fluid art) on her deck.  The finished painting kind of looks like images from a 1960’s light show.  You don’t know what to expect as the paint flows onto the canvas.  You do have control over the colors and some control over how the paint flows as you tip the canvas at various angles while trying to get the canvas fully covered with paint.

Experimenting

I love experimenting.  I’m learning tricks that I can apply in a different media.  Best of all, at this stage in my life, I don’t have any judgment about how it comes out.  If I like the result, I can put it on my refrigerator; if not, it goes in a pile in the garage.

Benefits of Art

Meanwhile, the benefits are tremendous. Here are some listed at the Creatubbles.com site -  https://stateoftheart.creatubbles.com/2017/02/08/10-important-skills-learn-art-education/

  • Creativity
  • Observation
  • Self-expression
  • Focus
  • Discipline
  • Perseverance
  • Collaboration
  • Risk-taking

Stress Reduction

I want to add stress-reduction to this list.  When I’m focused on my art, all my cares disappear.  Try it.  Get started by taking a class.  Let me know how your art is coming along.  I hope you enjoy some of my art work on this site.

Be Honest with Yourself

I am a believer in positive thinking.  I’m also a believer in being realistic.  What this means is that even if you have a clear goal, you still need to rationally assess your current situation and readiness to attain the goal.

In my coaching practice I talk to people in their 60’s and 70’s who want to return to full-time work in the profession they had in their 50’s.  Some of my clients are successful at “going back,” especially if they work in healthcare where seniors are often hired.  On the other hand, an honest discussion often reveals that a backup plan or a modified goal will lead to a better outcome.  Here’s what I mean:

Suppose David, who is 70, wants to return to full-time corporate training.   We will talk about David’s health and energy level, since the employer will look at this.  We will discuss David’s plan for staying up-to-date on corporate training needs and strategies.  For example, which online software programs is he skilled at using for developing training?  Does David need additional training to be competitive?  We need to consider David’s networking contact list.  What is David’s communication and marketing strategy?

I can help David prepare for the job search, but I need David to be clear and honest about his goal.  Is he truly healthy enough for full-time work?  Is he still mentally sharp?  Will his current skills allow him to “talk the talk” of younger and “up-to-date” colleagues?  How well does he work with younger people? Has David maintained his professional contacts, and, if not, how can he build new ones?

During an honest discussion, if David says that his health is not optimal, and his skill level is not where it was, then David and I can explore suitable goals.  For example, perhaps David can enhance his skills and then work part-time for established training companies that use hourly or daily contractors.  Depending on his interests, perhaps David can develop his own training programs and market them through social media.  David could reengage with professional and networking groups.

There are many possible goals and next steps.  The key is to be honest about the current situation.  Working with a coach can help you move from hopeful, positive thinking to realistic thinking that results in positive outcomes.

Renewal and Reinvention after the Sonoma County Fires

A year after the devastation of the Sonoma County, California fires, friends who have lost their homes and most of their material possessions spoke to me about gratitude – gratitude for the outpouring of gifts and support from both friends and strangers.

It doesn’t erase the pain of the loss, but one friend shared that small events will long be remembered, such as gong to community garage “sales” where you are told to take anything that fits or is useful…maybe a new pair of earrings or a sweater or even a bicycle – for free.

I recently spoke with a Sonoma artist at a local art festival.  He lost most of his paintings when his studio burned in the fire.  I looked at photos of his lost paintings and then felt exhilarated by his fresh, new paintings.  He has worked through the trauma and come out the other side with stunning, gorgeous images.

My friend Annie calls this “getting pruned.”  She says it’s like cutting back a rose bush and being rewarded with even more stunning rose blossoms.

This metaphor reminded me that in the 1980’s I lost my home in a mudslide in Sausalito, California.  I’m grateful I got out alive and was able to rescue some possessions.  I realize now that the loss and trauma was a turning point for me.  It forced me to re-evaluate my life and eventually led to a better romantic partnership, and work in coaching and training that was more aligned with my values.

In fact, one couple I know announced their engagement shortly after she lost her home in one of the fires.  Maybe they would have announced it at that time anyway, but experience tells me that after facing the possibility of losing your life, some decisions become very clear.

Another friend told me that when the fire destroyed her home, she decided to move closer to San Francisco where most of the family works.  The shorter commute has resulted in greater family togetherness, which she loves.

I certainly don’t want to minimize the pain and trauma of major loses; however, as we remember the fires, it’s good to recognize that sometimes life calls for us to reinvent ourselves…and that can be a good thing.

Top 10 Tips for People Over 50

Following are some of the topics we discuss in the Reinvent Yourself after 50 workshops.  See how many of these tips you can incorporate into your life.  Let me know which ones are helping you feel greater joy and fulfillment.

Learn

Explore subjects that interest you and see where it leads.  Read, use Google, take workshops, attend lectures.

Have a Supportive Community

We all need community.  Studies show you’ll live longer and feel better if you have a good social life.  Meet people who lift you up and spend time with them.  I’ve found that Meetup.com is a good way to meet who enjoy the activities that you enjoy.

Live a Balanced Life

You will be happier if you find the right balance of work (paid or volunteer), relationships, leisure, creativity, learning, and spiritual pursuits.  What do you need more of?  What do you need less of in life?

Relax

Leisure is a vital part of living a balanced life.  Take time to relax and recharge.  Your brain requires this.

Enjoy Nature

Get outside as often as possible.  The sun, greenery and water are all nurturing.  My yellow, green and blue logo symbolizes these essential elements of nature.

Be Healthy – stay active and eat well

Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good.  You’ll feel better and be healthier if you keep moving and eat healthy foods (and never smoke).

Be Grateful

Each day write down a few of the things you’re grateful for.  When you see the good in the world, you feel happier.  It’s that simple.

Keep a Bucket List

Pay attention to your ideas about things you’d like to do.  (Sometimes feeling jealous of others is an indication of something we need or want to do.)  People who write down and follow-up on their bucket lists are more likely to fulfill their dreams.  Create a life you’ll love.

Travel

New places and cultures (even if they are close to home) introduce us to new ideas and perspectives.  Travel beyond your usual stomping ground to feel inspired and energized.

Feel Passion and Purpose

Find time for activities that make a difference to others.  This work will add meaning and purpose to your own life.