I’m a Creative Age Blogger
Why this blog? For personal reflection, I wanted to keep a record of my personal and professional transition from mid to late career. My late career could 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 kindred spirits along the way. My goal is to add one new blog each week. (on Sunday evening) and I’ll share with those who are interested on Monday morning.
Life circumstances brought me to this blog. After a failed attempt at early retirement, I re-entered the workforce at the age of 60. Other people encouraged me to write the experience. Career, work, social, civic engagement and leisure have always been rolled into one thing. I’m passionately engaged with my work and I’ve started mentoring younger women. I just can’t see ever wanting give anything up just yet. When it comes to creative aging. I consider myself my own case study.
I started my journey into The CREATIVE AGE in 2008 with an online seminar with Dr. Gene Cohen, 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 inspiration I needed to transform my life and the lives of others who embark on this creative journey. This is a highly creative age 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 I choose to believe it.
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. 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.
Some will choose to pursue a creative lifestyle that incorporates visual arts, dance, theatre, craft or creative writing. This would include skills development, exhibition, performance and other social engagement activities.
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. During my own transition, 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 just retired from her art gallery business at the age of 91!
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.
In 1993, Kathy Smith was appointed to Mayor’s Honour Roll for the Arts in the City of London Ontario. Her company was nominated for a Tourism London Spirit of Excellence Award in the late 1990’s. In 2010, she was pleased to serve as the founding co-chair of the London Age Friendly Network and presently serve as the co-chair of the Housing Working Group. London Ontario is the first city in Canada to receive the World Health Organization Age Friendly City designation and join the Global Network.
The London Council for Adult Education completely surprised Kathy with an Adult Educator recognition in 2015. In 2016, I she was most honoured to receive the Ontario Achievement Award from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Her nomination was submitted by the City of London, Age Friendly London Network with supportive referrals by current clients and colleagues.
In 2017, Kathy completed the NCCA Artist Training Program offered through the National Centre for Creative Aging in New York, NY and she has been active in community/creative arts since 1987.