Dixie Darr

Age of Innovation

In creativity, Lent - Season of Change on March 17, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Lent – Season of Change, day 15

Ask a class of kindergarten kids who’s creative and they will all raise their hands. As they progress in school, the number of hands raised decreases to almost zero. Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Education expert Sir Ken Robinson, blames this on our education system. Watch his popular TED talk here.

Depressing as that seems, the good news is that as we grow old and near retirement, our interest in creativity rises again.

Maybe that’s because we’re so many years removed from school. Just a thought. Retirement also allows new opportunities to use our time and financial resources.

You’ve probably noticed that many senior citizens take up an artistic activity: writing, painting, photography, calligraphy, dance, singing, quilting, playing an instrument. Those who have always pursued the arts (There’s an odd turn of phrase. Are the arts running away so that we have to chase after them?) may continue in their field, deepening their knowledge and skill, or branch out to a new creative endeavor.

Creativity benefits the individual by strengthening morale, contributing to physical and mental health, enhancing cognitive function, and enriching relationships. Here’s a short video listing ten top reasons to free your inner artist and I’ll list a few more resources below. It occurs to me, however, that in a world that desperately needs innovation, the benefits of encouraging creativity in elders could benefit society, too. So far, I haven’t found anybody who’s looking into that. Maybe we’re just too accustomed to waving goodbye to old folks as they ride into the sunset of life. Maybe it’s time we cut that out.

The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life by Gene D. Cohen, MD, PhD.

Next Avenue Special Report on Artful Aging


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