Norway is ageing. The life expectancy for men in the country is now 81 whilst for women, it is 84. 11% of Norwegians are over 70 and this is expected to go up to 20% by 2060. This means that Norwegians will live a fifth of their lives after the age of retirement and may feel they have lived an even greater percentage in “old age”. Tradition would have it that old age marks the point where you start doing less and relax more, but is this the right, or indeed the healthy approach? How can art and creativity help turn the twilight years into the best years of your life?
It is never too late to start
Louise Bourgeois the surrealist artist famous for gigantic and terrifying installations did not reach the peak of her success until she was in her 70s and 80s. Many other artists consider themselves to be late bloomers if they didn’t get published until their 30s or 40s but Millard Kaufman did not write his first novel until he was 90. It is never too late to make a start and to take on new challenges.
Start with something simple
Whilst when we are young, art may seem the most natural thing in the world; but when we age it is easy to see it as one of those skills we didn’t get round to developing. Start with something simple like learning how to draw a rose. Use the techniques and skills you gain from this to take on greater challenges and develop from there.
Always keep trying
When you are tired or in pain it is easy to neglect the things that bring you pleasure. Once you have started to be creative you will find that the act of creativity can help to improve your mood and therefore your health. It is easy to find excuses to avoid being creative but remember the positives that making something will bring and find an excuse to draw.
Remember the benefits
There have been studies done on the benefits of creativity in ageing populations. The results of these were clear and positive. Those who took part in the studies found that their anxiety, negative emotions and depression were reduced. The same participants found improvements in their sense of calm, relaxation and self-esteem. They found that their lives had more meaning as they got joy and satisfaction from the art itself.
Pick yourself up some art supplies and get started today. Whether your first lessons drawing roses end up with you becoming the next Picasso or not isn’t the point. The act of being creative will help you in everyday life and will allow you to get more out of every day.
Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. Jane has a particular interest in issues relating to health and wellbeing.
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