Living a Creative Life in Your 50s

A desk with a black notebook, pencil case and a cup of coffee

What Does it Mean to Live a Creative Life?

Living and Sustaining a Creative Life for many women becomes easier after they have gone through "life" - motherhood, the job, or the career - they were expected to fall into, and followed, happily, for years.

Living a Creative Life in Your 50s becomes less about making a living and more about making a life. It is about allowing your inner creativity, your playfulness, your curiosity, your expression and your narrative, to take over and lead you, to a place of more freedom, contentment and joy. Living a creative life is liberating. No one can tell you you're doing it wrong. This is your time to live as an artist, whatever that might look like, to show the world who you are and what you can create the only way you can. It becomes less about making a living and more about making a life around creative work, the artists' own voices and their take on life. It becomes something written in the artists' souls. A passion. A longing. A deep desire for something more.

But how can you make that move from corporate life, from schedules and control, from reporting and networking, to tick-box filling and filing or from the school run, managing play dates and running a house to living and sustaining a creative life?

For many women, it is usually a deep feeling of discontent, of exhaustion or trauma, which catapults them into this new realm of, 'What if?'

'For me personally, an increasingly toxic school environment coupled with my mum's cancer diagnosis found me physically, emotionally and mentally depleted. I had nothing more to share or give. Or so I thought. Then I found writing.'

Women start to ask themselves is this it and with increased confidence and life experiences, with a network of family and friends around them, they start to see how there are other possibilities waiting for them beyond the familiar, often mundane. They become hungry for something to call their own. They develop their craft and their skills, their bellies filled with excitement and the wonder of learning something new.

They begin to think about and work as a creative, though it rarely feels like work. They explore what it means to be creative and they follow a path which instinctively opens up for them, leading them away from challenges and towards embracing the new and the unknown.

'I found that I was fascinated with the craft of writing. I swallowed up every podcast, devoured every book on writing and sought out those who were already writers. I wanted to be a part of their landscape, their journey. I wanted it for me. The more I began to write, the more words and ideas seemed to spill out from me and there was no one to say stop or not now or why are you doing that.'

How Else Might Creativity Look in our Lives?

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

~ Maya Angelou

My perspective on living a creative life has opened up many conversations and some of those have led to the belief that living a creative life is more accessible than you may think.

With technology, and the instant access we have to podcasts, websites, social media, videos and masterclasses, it means we can learn the art of creativity any time, any place. Living as an artist, whatever form that may take, can bring so much freedom and personal confidence, allowing us to wean off the day job and to help redefine creative expression for ourselves. 

Woman with dark hair drawing on procreate on her ipad

As our confidence grows, so do the risks we take, the fear of failure is less daunting and we find ourselves trying things out just for the pure joy of it. We find that we're not so bad at baking, we know our paint wheel better than we thought and our brushes feel natural in our hands when poised over a blank canvas. We find the right words to create poetry and stories, we cultivate our little patch of earth and create herb gardens and beautiful lush borders of blooms. 

And through it all we are driven to cultivate purpose and meaning in our lives. What's it all for if we are not going to enjoy life, even a little bit? We slow down, we stop to listen to our bodies, our surroundings, and really notice the little things. There is mindfulness and presence in what we do each day and we are more likely to say no to what doesn't please us or make us happy. That's creativity taking a hold on life. It's tugging at our hearts and inviting us to find a deeper connection with ourselves and the world we live in.

'I remember waking up feeling a calmness, a serenity I hadn't felt for months,' when I decided that writing was my calling and I leant into it wholly and selflessly. I have taken my creative journey, moulded it to me, and made it my life as a published author. I have become a successful artist, a creative, and wouldn't change anything about my life.

I, in fact, help others find their flow in writing and offer support through personalised mentoring and show people to see and feel how they too can find their writing mojo with a little push. The struggles of starting, when shared, are diminished and art has become a much more widely accepted form of therapy: photography, painting, sculpting, writing, journalling, drawing, knitting, embroidery, signing... all of life's experiences can be used to create art enthusiasts and women artists are particularly good at expressing feelings and emotions and making a living.

A woman with a hat, dressed in white, sitting on the grass and painting a landscape

The art world is full of creative people: young artists, working artists, professional artists. The point is living a creative life is now a choice. You don't have to have gone to art school, you don't have to exhibit your work in an exhibition, making art is about living your best life and creating for you. Go and do it!

Until next time, stay safe and stay well. Love Soulla x

Author: Soulla Christodoulou