Speaker, adult educator, project/program/event organizer,
creative community developer,
coach, mentor and blogger
This is my creative age. This is a highly creative time for me and I haven’t peaked yet. My most productive and creative years are still ahead of me! That’s my best guess ~ and important part of my message. I simply choose to believe this. In my speeches and seminars, I share about the process to develop this mindset and the personal resources needed to explore the possibilities and opportunities that were cleverly hidden in plain sight, all around me.
Why this blog?
For personal reflection, I wanted to keep a 3 year record or journal of my personal and professional transition from mid to late career. My official start date of the blog was January 1st 2019 and I’ll keep it open and updated until January 1st 2022.
I realize my late career could now conceivably extend into my 80s or 90s. If that sounds strange to you, it no longer sounds unusual to me. I’m meeting lots of inspirational men and women along the way. Many older workers are women who are beyond their mid-years quietly working away in their 70s and 80s.
My goal for this blog is to add one new blog post each week (on Sunday evening) and I’ll share with those who are interested in sharing this journey into uncharted territory.
I first learned about The CREATIVE AGE in 2008 with an online seminar by Dr. Gene Cohen M.D., Ph.D., an American psychiatrist who pioneered research into geriatric mental health. He was the first head of the Center on Aging at the National Centre of Mental Health, the first government-supported center on mental health and aging in the world, and was later the first director of the Center on Aging, Health, and the Humanities at the George Washington University. His book The CREATIVE AGE: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life provided the motivation to transform my life and the lives of others. The National Centre for Creative Aging was incorporated as an independent non-profit and was established in Washington, D.C. in 2007 under the leadership of Gay Hanna, MFA, Ph.D. Affiliated with George Washington University, NCCA worked closely Dr. Gene Cohen.
Healthy Life Stages
The end of midlife marks the beginning of a perceived life bonus of an identified active and healthy “life stage” of 30 years. Some call it the “Third Age.” This was not recognized or documented by previous generations. This time of life is now viewed as an important developmental period after mid-life that can significantly add to a life well-lived if regarded as an important stage of adult growth and development. It is now recognized by the World Health Organization in the Life Course Approach to Health.
With traditional lines blurring and with an extended period of healthy active years after mid-life, paid or unpaid work may or may not play an important role in daily life. Those with adequate retirement funds may choose to volunteer their experience and services. Others may need or choose to seek full-time, part-time, seasonal or occasional employment. I’ll encounter some or most of the complexities involved with meeting the needs of this new generation of the aging population. This blog provides me with an opportunity to express myself – to observe, listen, think out loud and reflect on my own ideas as weeks and months go by. A number of my baby boomer friends and colleagues are going through a similar transition.
We do have role models. My friend, Audrey, started painting at the age of 76 and now, at the age of 91, she sells her art and mentors other artist from her art gallery business where she works 5 days a week.
With millions of baby boomers now entering this creative age, the global Age Friendly Cities and Communities movement also promotes and supports meaningful opportunities for the full social and cultural engagement of older adults.
As a community volunteer and community arts practitioner, Kathy Smith was the founder and director of the London New Arts Festival celebrated in 26 different venues around the urban core area of London Ontario. For a decade, throughout the 1980s, Kathy was active in the Mayor’s Downtown Revitalization Action Teams with a focus on arts, culture, civic engagement and increased residential development.
Realizing that cross-sector partnerships were important for effective community development, Kathy focused her efforts to secure resources and build capacity for this important work. She was appointed to the Mayor’s Honour Roll for the Arts in the City of London Ontario in 1993. Her company was nominated for a Tourism London Spirit of Excellence Award and Ambassador of the Year Award.
In 2010, she was pleased to serve as the founding co-chair of the London Age Friendly Network and presently serves as the Co-chair of the London Age Friendly Network Housing Working Group.
London Ontario is the first city in Canada to join the World Health Organization Age Friendly Global Network and receive the World Health Organization Age Friendly City designation.
Kathy has developed Creative Aging programs, activities and events with the London Public Library Adult Programs Department for 5 years and the London Council for Adult Education acknowledged her work with an Adult Educator Award in 2015.
In 2016, she was most honoured to receive the Ontario Achievement Award from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario for her contributions to the community.