Creatively Yours – Menopause, Empty Nests and Second Spring

This is the first post from guest blogger Angela.  Enjoy!

Having recently reached the “second spring” of my life, I am welcoming in the new possibilities of what might be. Saying goodbye to my younger years was a long, slow process which culminated in my official arrival in the land of “menopause” this winter. It was a stormy ride moving through the ups and downs of mood swings, hot flashes, sleepless nights, memory failures and general body changes that occurred over the past few years. At the same time I was silently mourning as my four children one by one left home and my husband and I were left with an empty nest. Now before I get feeling too sorry for myself, there have been moments of great joy and accomplishment as I watched our children learn to fly (without too many crashes)!  And I don’t get to miss them too much because the door to the nest is always open, and I think I raised homing pigeons! Ah but that too will change one day. So for now, I am rethinking, redesigning and reinventing who I am, having had a successful career, two great marriages (after losing my first husband to cancer) and having raised four fantastic children (though not always successfully at the same time).  From this new vantage point in life I along with many of you who have also reached this new plateau, am about to embark on what promises to be a rewarding and exciting second half of life!

So what do menopause, empty nests and second spring have to do with creativity?  Everything!  Throughout the fog filled days of menopause, I remembered the wise words spoken by my best friend’s mother. “Life just gets better after menopause”.  She experienced it as a time of freedom, renewed energy and explosive creativity!  Her artist within was born and she went on to create many beautiful paintings, sculptures, gardens and living spaces. It’s the life line I hung on to, as I lay awake, unable to sleep night after night after yet another hot flash! I only wished my mother had been around to say “this too will pass”. So to those of you who are lying awake at night wondering the same thing, I assure you that like all things in life, menopause does eventually pass. I am also inspired by the work of Gene Cohen, the guru of grey matter whose research supports the claim that “because of aging (not in spite of it) we acquire a new capacity to use our left and right brains simultaneously. (And in case you forgot, the right hemisphere is the creative side of the brain.)  Thus many artists are “born” in the second spring of their life! Finally my time has come! And what about the empty nest? Well for those of us who have been raising children, the empty nest leaves space and time for creativity in whatever form it takes from opening an art studio or a cooking school, to writing a book or starting a blog; from going back to school to study the universe to mentoring youth, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. And remember, your brain is now starting to fire on two cylinders!

So, you may ask, why am I so happy about crossing over the line which we all know can only lead to the eventual end? I guess it must be my right brain telling my left brain that the best is yet to come!  Or it could be that I feel that I have come out of the fog and into the light! Speaking of which, check out this AMAZING painting I fell in love with called “Out of the Fog”.  The artist is Sherry Rohl and I happened upon her work at the Watson MacRae Gallery on a foggy art filled day in Sanibel, Florida with my creative friend Marnie. www.watsonmacraegallery.com/sherry-rohl

Join me as I explore creativity in our second spring.

P.S. I owe credit for the term “second spring” to Dr. Maoshing Ni, author of the book  Second Spring which is filled with a wealth of tips for revitalizing and regenerating at any age and to Laurie for suggesting I read it!

Creatively yours,

Angela

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9 thoughts on “Creatively Yours – Menopause, Empty Nests and Second Spring

  1. Great article….but as a man in his mid to late 50’s I am going through MANopause the symptoms are pretty much the same, except for the hot flashes!

    • Hi Mario
      Thanks for your post and for reminding us that men go through a similar process in mid life. Welcome to the blog and welcome to the most creative time of your life!
      Happy Spring!
      Angela

  2. Hey, Angela, I liked your line about homing pigeons! Would you still call them homing pigeons if the parent pigeons have to borrow a pick-up truck, drive to the city, load all their possessions, including the couches they found curbside, and drive them home, on a day predicted to be rainy?

    Elizabeth

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      I certainly would! We are in the same boat (or shall I say truck) this weekend. Our son returns with all his gear from university tomorrow. Suddenly his room seems so small… but we will move things around from the storage room, to the garage, to the cottage and maybe even some to the dump and before you know it will look like it did four years ago. Happy moving! ps the rain is the icing on the cake!

  3. Sweet Angela
    You are a deep thinker, a spiritual searcher and a fresh breath of air in my experience. Thank you for being such a clear thinker. I am beyond the change in life you refer to and had a different experience too as on my mid fiorties when my daughters were 17 & 19 I had my son. For the last 25 years I have been growing younger and younger with him- skiing endlessly in mts. and nearby, skating, roller blading and lately I rappelled down a 100′ cliff above a river. I have not taken the time to think of age as a limitation which I also love to contemplate…that you are only as old as you think you are. Many people do limit their experience by dwelling on age limitation. A year ago I started painting having been introduced to it by Angela. I had believed for decades that I could only draw stick people and now I have printed a book of 25 of my paintings-landscapes and still lifes thanks to Angela teaching an art group at her cottage.

    • Linda,
      Thank you for your very kind words! It is so great to hear other perspectives and experiences! I agree with you that we are only as old as we think we are and you are by far the youngest person I know! You are a shining light for those of us wishing to live life to the fullest at every age and stage of life! Keep skiing, hiking, painting and contemplating ….you are an inspiration!
      Angela

  4. Hi Beautiful Angela,

    Thank your for taking all of this on. I have always thought more people should be privy to your thoughts. You have so much to share.

    Of course you know I watch you closely. You are my friend, but also sister and as you speak of menopause, I am paying close attention…being only forty one and in the midst of taking care of everyone I am in the years of overwhelm. Difficult to eke out time for creativity. And considering it is how I earn my living, that causes me great consternation!

    I do wonder about women and the birth of creativity. I wonder too if it could be linked with sex? Hear me out!!!

    While going through my divorce, I was celibate. I was also making a lot of art. I didn’t make the connection until I began a new relationship. Filled with creative energy and new found freedom, I would spend the evening with my beautiful man and then…no creative desire. No need to paint.

    This led me to question the ‘arousal’ I have felt throughout my life. Especially on the heels of this blog. Perhaps all those times I sought out a lover, I was actually being called to make art. Perhaps it was creativity courting me. Perhaps I allowed myself to be seduced away from my art by a rival suitor!

    Now that my new relationship has ‘settled down’, I notice both of us are being more creative. He is on the back deck carving, and I am in the studio painting.

    Thanks for having a space for me to learn from you and wonder about these things out loud.

    Happy Day Ange.

    Love Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for sharing your wonderings. As always, you think deeply and express yourself in a wonderfully creative way. I remember my 40’s as being a time for caring for others. Between aging parents and developing teenagers, I wondered where I had disappeared to in my life? I now know I was just living life to the fullest. So, I wonder if every age and stage presents new challenges, then it must also present new opportunities. Enjoy every moment creatively Sarah! There is time for everything that matters! Happy Mother’s Day to you and all the mothers out there! p.s. nothing beats a hand made card!
      A

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