Some of us “over 60’s” were talking about how inspiration and hope come from different sources now. Who doesn’t want to feel excited by an idea, person, or situation? And at this age, many of the things that excited or inspired us we have already accomplished, and that feeling of firsts isn’t there either. We’ve had our first kiss, first job, first car, first home etc etc. We also have enough experience in certain areas like the complicated work project we survived, that we don’t need more of it. We have learned, so it doesn’t provide that level of inspiration of a new opportunity. Or at least not for me.
I’ve delved into many kinds of projects, productions, relationships, travel and work cultures in the past 4 decades,and taken risks of many sorts to learn about work, love, and life. My path and question now seems to be, and often has been I suppose, is what is the new spark that I can ignite for myself that includes my desire for purpose and a feeling of contribution?
What sparks us over time may change. Or maybe due to our own growth over our lives, naturally the spark or what sparks us will have to be different? We can’t necessarily come back to something later that excited us and find it again. I think opportunities come to us at specific times in our lives, like certain jobs, travel, relationships, family choices etc. Either we act on them or we do not. Time marches on. Going back isn’t always possible, and the way the world is changing, we might not find that exact place again anyway. (Yes I know some folks go looking for their high school sweethearts decades later, find them and marry. I imagine that is a good spark.)
I’ve learned that some folks love to keep busy even if it is just to be in motion. Maybe they are bored, so being on the move, even to the shopping mall, can feel like something is happening versus feeling antsy, confused, or seeking. I can appreciate doing something to shift one’s mood. I do it too sometimes, but if I feel I’m using it to distract myself from my feeling, especially a feeling of wanting focus/purpose/spark, then I do choose quiet vs activity as a way to hopefully gain insight.
It is possible creative people, and innovators, people in pursuits that require their creativity to make something new from scratch, often find themselves in periods of inspiration, implementation, rest and restless. To use a farming analogy, it is like a cycle we go through; composting, fertilizing, planting, harvesting and then laying fallow for a while. Then it starts again.
Often when I’m in that fallow stage I wonder if I’m done with inspiration or being able to find that something new feeling. That’s how it can hit me in that moment, that this is the feeling from now on.
Yet as a younger person, I would feel that way after an inspired period, the idea or plan was implemented and completed. After that large effort, like the land, it seems important to allow ourselves to embrace these stages of life’s growth, including replenishing our energy, trusting the fallow stage, imagining something good will emerge from it like being inspired by a new thing. It can come. We just need stay open to the possibilities. It is a process. May we be patient and enjoy this new territory.