Our book has finally arrived. The Age-Well Project was published yesterday and Annabel and I feel a little like proud new parents. There’s something slightly surreal about birthing a book: months (years, really) of labour, a lot of waiting and then a chunky 300+ pager slips quietly into your hands. It’s available on Amazon for a special introductory price here
For me, getting a literary agent for the first time at 50, then publishing a book at 52, is an unexpected midlife joy. But there’s no reason not to flourish creatively as we get older, particularly for mothers as childrearing gets a little easier and our nests empty.
This was borne out by research published this week revealing that creativity peaks in our 20s, and our 50s. We can use that twenty-something burst of creativity to propel us through the career-building years, and the fifty-something renewal to open up the opportunities for expansion that midlife brings.
The report, by Ohio State University, looked at previous winners of the Nobel Prize in economics. Researchers found that winners who had done their most ground-breaking work in their twenties tended to be conceptual thinkers who had acted on a ‘lightbulb’ moment. They also found a second creative peak, for ‘experimental’ innovators, which happened in their fifties. These innovators accumulate knowledge through their careers and find new ways to analyse, interpret and synthesise that information when they are older.
‘This work really does point to the fact that there are very important innovators who do their best work much later in their lives,’ the study’s author Professor Weinberg says. Most importantly, he adds, ‘We believe what we found in this study isn’t limited to economics, but could apply to creativity more generally.’
This research points to the fact that making use of what we’ve learnt over the decades helps us flourish creatively. We love this quote from acclaimed American novelist and poet, May Sarton, who wrote in her journal in 1972, ‘At 58 I am more creative, focussed and potent than I have ever been.’
We certainly don’t accept that middle age is a time for slowing down and sticking to what we know. If we want to age well, we must find creative outlets in midlife and beyond. This needs to be a time of curiosity, greater engagement and mental challenge. These factors help build cognitive reserve, which in turn helps the brain circumnavigate the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer’s. Creative thinkers are more likely to engage disparate networks across the brain, keeping their neurons firing. They also have a greater sense of purpose and a flexible attitude to change. This is one of the most important skills we can develop to fend off cognitive decline as we age. We have an entire chapter on creativity in our book if you want to know more.
Apart from our book, the other ‘baby’ in my life right now is the one that (at the time of writing) goes by the regal hashtag of #BabySussex and seems to be in no hurry to take its place in the House of Windsor. The arrival (or not) of Meghan and Harry’s baby has dominated my life in recent weeks. In my day job (I’m very lucky to have two creative ‘jobs’) I’m making a series about the royal family which will culminate in the arrival of #BabySussex. So, as you read this, I may be dashing to Windsor to join the media melée. Creativity can take many forms and mine has led me to a strange combination of celebrating the arrival of a book and waiting for the arrival of a royal baby! But my point is that it doesn’t matter WHAT you do to keep the creativity flowing, it’s having a go that counts.
As we’re celebrating this week, we’ve got not one, but two, giveaway competitions for you. The first is for you and a friend to each win a copy of the book and a pile of goodies from Perkier Foods. Perkier make delicious quinoa-based snacks, and if you’ve checked out our recipes you’ll know that quinoa is one of our favourite age-well foods. You’ll need to get onto our Instagram or Facebook feeds, tag a friend and both be following us, and Perkier, to win. Draw will be at random and on Tuesday. So get tagging!
And as if one competition isn’t enough, we’ve got an exclusive offer just for our blog subscribers – so make sure you’ve signed up to follow us.
We’ve got two giveaway tickets worth £35 each, to attend the PositivePause Feelgood Fair, on Saturday May 11th, in Richmond Upon Thames, London.
This fun, informative day, is chock-full of expert advice and discussions. Women’s health experts, complementary therapists and leading figures and exhibiting brands from the world of health and wellbeing will share their knowledge with women looking for self-help strategies to manage their health, well-being and lifestyles. I’m speaking too and can’t wait to see you there.
Find full event details HERE
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting ’Age Well Project PositivePause Feelgood Fair Competition’
- Competition closes at midnight on Monday 6th May.
- Winners will be drawn at random on Tuesday 7th May and will be emailed at 6pm.
- There is no cash alternative. Winners must make their own travel arrangements.
- PositivePause will add entrants name to their newsletter.