Inspiration for staying creative as you get older
I woke one morning in December feeling a little queasy and was instantly reminded that my tolerance for alcohol is no longer what it used to be.
I like to tell myself that lack of sleep associated with being a father of two little boys has affected my partying ability. But with the onset of a few (only a few) grey hairs, I have to ask who I’m kidding.
There was a time when I could lead the march into the dawn in search of the next club, bar or party but nowadays I’m more concerned with getting enough rest and being on top form for the following day. How boring.
So what if I’m getting older – do I really care? When I was 15 I used to think that somebody in their 30s was practically middle-aged. I wonder do teenagers think that of me?
I heard a 20 year old girl comment once that I had aged well – I suppose that’s positive. But still I wonder, does it really matter?
We’ve all heard the sayings “It’s how you feel on the inside that counts” and “You’re only as old as the person you’re feeling”. I believe this to be true, broadly what they’re saying is that your age can be measured by how you’re feeling and the company you keep.
In my case, I feel great, and among the company I keep are my two sons aged 2 and 4. Little can prepare you for becoming a father, and it fairly opens your eyes. Lately I have re-discovered the infinite possibilities of imagination, and considering that my whole career as a singer-songwriter and author is based around being creative, I find this fascinating.
One would have thought that a vivid imagination was essential for what I do. It is, but unlike that of a child, an adult’s imagination has boundaries. With the kids we can turn a bunk-bed into a space ship, our backyard into crocodile-infested murky waters and a cardboard box into any number of exciting things. As an adult, that bunk-bed needs to be kept tidy, I’ve got to scoop up dog poo from the overgrown backyard and the cardboard box needs to go into the recycling bin.
The kids will sing unannounced at the top of their lungs, dress how they please and dance if something takes their fancy. Contrast this with a party recently at which I tried to start a sing-along and I couldn’t coax one person into belting out a tune. As I looked over their faces, I could see that the desire was there but socially people felt they couldn’t.
What a shame.
I felt like saying, “I bet you sing in the shower!”
But I have no right to preach – I cringe at the prospect of dancing in public, God forbid I might miss a beat and someone might notice. Where as at home I’ll try out all my crazy dance moves with the kids and we’ll have a ball.
So I’m certain that I get dreadful hangovers now and I’ve one or three grey hairs, but I’m not willing to concede that I’m getting on just yet – if I can equal my kids in energy, spontaneity and childishness at home, surely that’s a huge part of who I still am.
Damn it, I’m not getting older, it’s the world around me. It’s the boundaries, the rules – as we get on in age we begin to impose limitations on each other. Spontaneity gets scheduled, singing and dancing in public are only for professionals and we always dress appropriately. Even creativity has got to follow rules, for the most part we need to make a living so what we do creatively needs to be commercial, has to follow trends and guidelines.
I’m not giving in just yet. As I stare at the pencil marks that I’ve etched on the wall showing my boys’ heights I can almost measure how long I can remain young for - at least another 18 years, I reckon.
As my good friend of age 86 tells me: “You’ll be old for long enough so enjoy right now.”
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…