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Starting again and the return to the self

Kerome

Kerome

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Today my mother asked me a very relevant question. She is now 69, her husband has passed 80, and it’s something that plays for them both. She asked,

If a dancer has to stop dancing,
And a painter has to stop painting,
And a musician can no longer play any instrument,
And a mother can no longer care for her kids,
What then stays?
And it struck me that all of these life directions are ways where we define ourselves more narrowly. If you call yourself a musician or a painter, you focus on a limited area of your skills, and that is where you invest your attention and how you define yourself. So what happens when you lose a life direction like that?

In a way it is the start of a journey, a movement back from a narrow definition to the entire core of what you are. It is an opportunity to refind yourself, and perhaps create a new definition, or just to stay at the centre.

It is of course different if you are older and are retired, and the psychological journey has more to do with letting go, rather than starting again. But it’s an area where someone who suffers from a psychic vulnerability later in life has an overlap with the elderly, both are confronted with this same psychological movement.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Yes, that’s what I meant at the very end, for people with mental health troubles it can happen whenever those things manifest. Sorry for not being clear.
 
exyz

exyz

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I'm older and retired from work.... but not from life.
Lots to go yet, even if it is difficult some days. :)
 
H

hongli

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It's always difficult when you lose that direction earlier than you anticipated, since so much of your life was depending on it and you no doubt had a lot of emotional investment in it as well. It's one thing to take a step back when you are older and decide on your own to step away from the life that you have made for yourself, but it's another, more difficult situation, when the life you've made was taken from you prematurely...
 
Kerome

Kerome

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It’s really a question brought about by my stepfather, who is an artist but now he no longer gets commissions, his eyes are not so good anymore, his memory of the things he used to do has largely gone, but he still feels himself to be an artist, and he is having some trouble letting go of his tools and his studio. They may be moving house to a smaller spot, and so push may be coming to shove.
 
exyz

exyz

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It's so difficult for all of you Kerome, I'm so sorry.

Hard to watch someone fade slowly, and difficult for him, as it is a greater part of his identity, and way of expressing himself. :sorry:

Monet had cataracts as he got older, hence his blurry style. I have cataracts also, and whilst never a professional artist, I always painted. I still draw when away, or paint a little, but not how I was.

Then again, my main profession, I had to give up 20 years ago now because of the head injury. I learned a lot from that as to how some people treat you as a diagnosis, and prognosis, rather than a person.

If he has to go into more sheltered/smaller accommodation, it would still be possible for him to paint/draw surely?

Is it possible now for someone ( e.g. another artist) to introduce him to other forms, e.g oil pastels, water colour pencil. Not in a " growing old so do this" kind of way, more of a " have you tried this?". So maybe a conversation but in a, "how do we still help you to be an artist " kind of way. :unsure:

Not explaining myself too well, I realise.

Something made me sort of take stock of myself recently, and I'm in "a rage against the dying of the light" mode at the moment.:) I know that physically and mentally I'm fading, and most of that is an age thing, but I've got a fair bit in me yet, before I decide to shuffle off.

It is harder sometimes for us to watch another whom we care about, start to crumple through Age.

Difficult though it is to be an observer in this, who cannot make things better, it is part of Life.

He is fortunate to have love and care around him. That is the best gift you can all give him.:hug1:
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Hard to watch someone fade slowly, and difficult for him, as it is a greater part of his identity, and way of expressing himself. :sorry:
He has been adjusting, slowly but surely. He has come to rely more on my mother, who is a decade younger, and she has been growing frustrated with his ability to lose things, forcing her to help him search. But there is a lot of love between them, and they manage together.

Is it possible now for someone ( e.g. another artist) to introduce him to other forms, e.g oil pastels, water colour pencil. Not in a "growing old so do this" kind of way, more of a "have you tried this?". So maybe a conversation but in a, "how do we still help you to be an artist" kind of way. :unsure:
He still does some cartoons and drawings, so he is not entirely out of it. But most of his big commissions have been computer-generated art, and now he can’t handle the computer anymore. It’s a big part of his identity which is going, and instead he has been spending a lot of time in the garden.

Something made me sort of take stock of myself recently, and I'm in "a rage against the dying of the light" mode at the moment.:) I know that physically and mentally I'm fading, and most of that is an age thing, but I've got a fair bit in me yet, before I decide to shuffle off.
So this line of thinking is not entirely inappropriate :) well, good for you that you’re hanging in there. Age is not an easy thing to deal with, gracefully or disgracefully, as you prefer.
 
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