I am currently working my way through Julia Cameron’s newest Artist’s Way series, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again – a program specifically targeted to help those in midlife discover creativity and meaning.
This week I focused on chapter eleven: Reigniting a Sense of Adventure.
I continue to follow the four cornerstones of the program:
- Daily hand-written Morning Pages (wrote 6 out of 7 days)
- Weekly solo Artist Dates (reorganized the nook)
- Two 20-minute solo walks per week (walking the basset… AND treadmill)
- Ten weekly Memoir prompts (this week focusing on ages 51-55)
First of all, I want to thank all of those who left encouraging comments last week. I’ve come to realize the Fitbit wannabe is definitely an example of “you get what you pay for” (the step count is about 30% off the iPhone calculations), BUT… it is helpful in motivating me to get off the couch. I managed to walk 7,000+ steps for 5 out of 7 days (the other two days I was busy chasing my eleven-month-old grandson and too pooped to do anything else).
This week I learned that getting off the couch is also necessary for creative health.
When I was teaching full-time and raising my own children, I would collapse in front of the television at 7:30pm and not move until I went to bed at 10:00. I was too exhausted to do anything more than watch reruns of The Big Bang Theory.
But my life is no longer chaotic. I still have energy at night to work on projects, read a book, or write a chapter. I don’t have to adhere to the old routine.
So my Artist Date this week got me off the couch and into the nook. I decided to clean up and reorganize the room to foster a more creative environment.
I cleared off the desk and now have plenty of space for scrapbooking projects and writing endeavors. I culled through old books and have four bags to take to the library’s used book sale. I weeded through cardstock, stickers and other papermaking crafts and put them in usable order. After years of saying I’m going to scrapbook – I’m now ready to take that first step!
In one sense, I’m prepping for an adventure. I’m daring to create something from nothing. I’m daring to go outside my normal nighttime routine and envision some evening fun.
But this week’s writing prompts also revealed another kind of adventure. Focusing on the ages of 51-55, I answered the following questions:
- Describe major relationships during this time in your life.
- Where did you live?
- What risks did you take during this period?
- Were there risks you wanted to take but didn’t?
- Describe one sound.
- Did you travel? Where? Why? With whom?
- What goals did you have ~ did you accomplish them?
- Do your goals from this time period have anything in common with goals today?
- What was a source of adventure ! how does it compare to today?
- What are other significant memories from this time period?
What did I discover?
Travel dominated my life.
In 2011 I was fortunate to take a two-week solo trip to Paris. My dream of living in the City of Lights finally came true. Since second grade, I’ve dreamed of speaking French at the local cafes, walking through Tuileries Garden, and taking in the art at some of the world’s greatest museums.
Then in 2015 I led a group of 38 parents and students on a twelve-day tour of Europe: London-Paris-Florence-Rome-and Sorrento. This was my third group tour (I led my fourth in 2017 and I am now planning a possible fifth). I still enjoy visiting the sights, but now I have the added bonus of sharing a love of international travel with my students.
I still have a long travel bucket list. But I didn’t realize the level of this obsession until I sorted scrapbooking supplies this weekend. I could fill an entire shoebox with travel stickers!
I love all aspects of travel. I dream of exotic locales. I research travel destinations. I plan detailed itineraries. I take tons of photos (to scrapbook). I bullet journal snippets while on the trip and then complete a travelogue when I return home. And I immediately begin the process all over again.
As I read through this week’s chapter, I was struck by this quote from one of Julia’s students:
Traveling is my artistic calling.
I thought only National Geographic photographers could have such a calling. Or mega-superstars like Rick Steves or Samantha Brown. It never occurred to me that this fifty-year-old dream could actually be a calling to go explore the world in my own unique way.
I am more than ready to embrace this adventure!