Unfettered by prudence, caution, inhibition. Undaunted by convention or expectation.
I have a hunch that many adults — midlife, midcareer, mid marriage, mid mortgage, midway to retirement — grow conscious, subtly at first and then slightly less subtly, creative impulses still linger from way back, dormant instincts to forge something out of nothing. No, that’s not exactly right. More alchemy. Summoning imaginary, feasible, potential somethings out of the land of what-if and into the land of sunlight and audience and …
Dream and invent without the shackles of judgment and cynicism and science and economics and bias and inertia… invent the impossible, conjure the fantastic!
As children we were encouraged to dream and invent without the shackles of judgment and cynicism and science and economics and bias and inertia. We were celebrated for inventing the impossible, conjuring the fantastic, costuming our precocious strut and smile in lofty life goals. I will be an astronaut. I will be president. I will be an artist. I will be a rock ‘n’ roll star. I will be a farmer, fireman, football player, etc. A fiddler. A flaneur. A fool.
A clever fool. A laughter divining fool. A fearless fool besotted with levity and fiddleheads still fuzzy and unfurled. An endurance romantic fool unrusted by the salt spray and the indecisive tide.
Content or Curious
Not everyone — some middle age adults are fortunate enough to feel 100% content, or so they assure me — fantasizes secretly, discreetly, perhaps even shamefully about taking bold creative risk. Risks. But some of us do. Some of us wonder. Some of us remember. And some of us, ssshhh… it’s sort of a secret, set aside caution and restraint and expectations to plunge into the unknown.
Not all the time. And not all at once.
I’m not necessarily talking about a fling with your trainer (though it might be what you need to wake that long hibernating self) or a snazzy Tesla/Ducati/Donzi/etc. I’m not judging. I’ll leave that up to you. And if what you really need to flush out your proverbial xylem and phloem is a fling or a spendy toy, go for it. But don’t come whining when your kid (or your insurance carrier) pees in your pool.
You Will Fail. You Will Succeed.
I’m pushing something even riskier and far more rewarding. I’m evangelizing bold creative risks that reignite the wonder and hunger and dreams you harbored a couple of decades ago. Write an opera. For the kazoo. Learn to dance lambada. Sculpt. Telemark ski. Cultivate rare orchids. Sketch your way across Africa. Build a tiny house or a tiny yoga studio or a tiny art studio. Learn letterpress. Write, stage, and perform a collection of monologues at your community theatre. Sail around the world. Or the lake. Launch that business you’ve alway dreamed of running.
Bold creative risk. You will fail. You will succeed. And both will revitalize and reward you. Again and again. I’m not a guru. Not a shrink. But I am risking and failing and sometimes even succeeding. And I’m 100% alive and inspired and eager to leap out of bed in the morning. It’s a great feeling. Even when it’s not.