Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Aging Brain Has Some Major Advantages

"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake."  Sir Francis Bacon 1561-1626

In my twenties, in my fertile imagination, I was torch singer Peggy Lee, heart shaped push up red sequined flashy full length form fitting dress barely clinging to my breasts, with just a chance I might take a deep breath and reveal all. "Never know how much I love you," I'd purr into the mike in the most seductive way, "never know how much I care, but when you put your arms around me, I get a fever that's so hard to bear, you give me fever..." Ooooo ahhh.

At twenty, I had no voice and nowhere near enough guts to stand up half naked before a salivating audience. At twenty, at the beginning of my life, my plans were to graduate from college, then travel and teach and experience a few other careers and get married and have children. And then there came a point where all I'd planned for and all I'd been interested in doing came to pass. There I was, planted firmly in my sixties, with calmed down hormones, a yen to write and time to do it. Today I spend my life writing and painting, both joyful and life-affirming, and it seems I can do things I never could before.

Last fall I took "Joy of Singing" in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of the Pacific and fell in love with singing. Not only in love with it, I found my voice improved over the ten sessions. I had no idea my voice would get better and stronger. This is not "Glee" or "Pitch Perfect." This is singing for the love of singing without tryouts, competition, snotty snarkiness, or performance. Along the way, my early and rejected piano lessons came back to me, and I began to remember how to read music again. Best part: just singing: singing show tunes, camp rounds, singing harmony, singing technical pieces and all for fun.

At this stage of my life I am more creative than I've ever been. This is absolutely incredible to me and I can't see it slowing down or stopping. Yesterday I watched "The Age of Champions" and saw a 100 year old tennis player compete at the highest levels of senior tennis, a team of sixty-five year plus women win a national basketball championship, and two brothers, 88 and 90 win swimming titles. Until April 28 you can see this movie at

There are harsh realities of getting older, but the aging brain has some major advantages and creative ability is one of them. Amazingly enough, I'm improving with age!

Baruch ata grateful I am for health and for all the opportunities I have to stretch and grow and recreate my life each day. Amen


  1. And the fifty-seven year old grandmother said, "Amen!" :D

  2. I´ve been thinking about this lately... I am 48 years old, but I am discovering a strong power inside me now... somehow, it´s a power that has been always there, but I haven´t paid attention enough to it till this time of my life, not sure why because I´ve always wanted to feel the way I am feeling now.
    I feel much more balanced, but also more creative, and have tons of projects in mind, things I want to do, things I want to learn, things I want to teach...
    This is making me want to have more time to explore and create, to live and enjoy... and my priorities are changing...
    I am also grateful, if I only could have more free time... I love teaching but I have a time consuming work at university that is not always rewarding, at least as not rewarding as my own projects. I am praying to find a way to have the chance to change this area of my life

  3. Great post.... I love being older and have no clue why anyone would want to go back to their twenties... or even thirties... and more than anything i can't wait to see what my painting is like in years to come... I think we just get better and better creatively as we get older ....xx

  4. This is my first time visiting you Barbara, but it certainly won't be my last. I've really enjoyed reading how you are improving with age because I'm thinking along the same lines...I'm at a stage in my life where I'm finally listening to my creative side. Earlier in my younger days there was always too much background noise. Kids, career, work, family, and just about anything else that came to distract me. But I'm beginning to ignore some of those things and concentrating in order to do the things that make me feel me!
    It's so exciting :D
    By the way that is such a brilliant quote by Sir Francis Bacon and your artwork is stunning.
    Have a great weekend...whatever you have planned ;D

  5. Wonderful post about aging, Barbara. I am also very thankful for life and health and the ability to enjoy hobbies such as art. (Wish I had kept up with tennis, but my shoulder got hurt way back then!)