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Retired? Then it’s time to be impractical


Most of us try to live practically. That’s not necessarily because we prefer to be practical, but rather because we need to be practical to live a normal life in Canada. It’s hard to justify pursuing your impractical passions when you’ve got your driveway to shovel. This can be especially true if your impractical passion is artistic.

Instead of converting your garage into a studio, for instance, you convert it into a storage room. Instead of taking music lessons, you drive your kids to theirs.

Many of us grow up with parents and teachers who drill into us the idea that artistic passions are frivolous. Holding down a stable job that pays you enough to buy a house and send your kids to good schools is more important, our parents and teachers tell us, than writing a novel. Practical pursuits are top priorities, we are taught, whereas artistic pursuits are not.

But all that changes when you retire and suddenly have ample amounts of free time, especially if you live in a place like Beacon Heights retirement residence, where your basic needs are taken care of, so you can focus on higher-order pursuits.  

Old age empowers you to be impractical

Say your kids are now adults, you’ve sold your house, and you live in a retirement residence. Finally, you have the time to prioritize your personal passions without fearing that by doing so you’re wasting precious time. If you allow yourself to indulge, retirement can be an inspirational period, perhaps the most inspirational period of your entire life.

If, however, you’re like many of us, then over time you have become alienated from your artistic passion, and don’t know how to get back into it. If you hung up your brush at age 26, and now you’re 62, how are you supposed to take up your brush again? Painting isn’t like riding a bike.

How to take up old passions

Think of the time you spent not making art as a hiatus

Taking up your artistic passion again is less intimidating if you think of the time you spent not practicing your passion as nothing more than a hiatus. Rather than telling yourself you gave up on your passion, in other words, tell yourself you merely took a long break.

Understand you’re not the same artist you used to be

It also helps to understand that the art you make now won’t be the same as the art you made years ago. This isn’t only because you are out of practice, but also because you are a different person, and the art you make will inevitably reflect the kind of person you are. That’s totally okay.

Rethink your ambitions

If during your younger years, you made art in the hope of becoming famous, you might have to rethink that ambition. Yes, it’s possible to become a famous artist in old age, but it’s not exactly a reasonable ambition and chances are it will leave you feeling unsatisfied with the art you make.

A happier and healthier approach to making art would be to think of it as something that brings you joy, not something that might bring you fans and accolades.

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