In midlife, my very good friend Joal has been engrossed in pursuing his unexpected passion in art. For some time, I dismissed his artsy weekends spent in galleries and exhibits simply as a passing folly. For years, he would show off his prized purchases of art works discovered during these random weekends. Recently though, Joal has moved away from being an art collector to becoming an artist himself.
If only his art teachers in school never made him feel that he was inadequate as an artist, Joal claims he would have pursued art earlier on in life. Now being mentored by a bevy of artist friends, Joal has dipped his hands into various media, from charcoal, pastel to watercolor. It’s remarkable how one can succeed in anything if one puts his heart into it. And for Joal, sheer determination to find the inner artist in him seems to be paying off a lot.
Another friend or ours is Wally, a dentist by profession, who reveals himself quite magically in his paintings. In a family where business and professions matter more, he has had to put painting on the back burner for the most part. Unless his friends commission him to work on a piece or when asked to show at exhibits, Wally has not really considered himself an artist. He calls it a hobby. When asked to choose between art and dentistry, he would candidly say that he would choose the former if only it were a viable way to earn a living. For sure though, in his golden years, Wally’s passion and acumen for art may just be the bright lining to his quiet days in retirement.
With day jobs to keep, it’s enviable how some people can make a living out of one’s creative hob–by or passion. I wonder though if artists ever feel that their work becomes tedious and onerous when it is a means to survive? Is true art a product of one’s real passion and not something one must earn from? I wonder.
Not many people are born natural artists and perhaps, there is no worthier innate gift than the ability to create images that evoke meaning. We all accept that talent and artistic prowess take years to master and develop, and often, developing talent early in life is an advantage. Even more, talent only grows when nourished in supportive and stimulating environments.
I’ve often wondered if people can reinvent themselves in midlife in the pursuit of one’s fervor or dream. Whether it’s farming, crocheting, baking, writing, or whatever creative passion you have, there’s probably never a wrong time to learning and pursuing it ardently. Who is to say that old dogs cannot learn new tricks? Remember Cory Aquino who took up the brush during her retirement? After all, we may not all have been born a Picasso, Van Gogh, Joya, or Amorsolo, but that art can be the one creative outlet that keeps us sane and happy, especially in midlife.
For most of us, we may not have had the luxury of unearthing our inner artists in childhood. But who knows, we might just uncover our propensities for creativity later on. For most of us who seek a break from the drudgery of work, we’ve often heard about how we should pursue our passion. And rightly so, let’s all be our creative, passionate ideal selves before it’s too late.