Think back for a moment to the time when you were a child and could disappear on purpose. How exquisite it was to hide in dark places and be the only one on earth to know of your whereabouts. Far away voices drifted through rooms and up the stairs and called your name. But after a time you began to hear nothing but the beat of your own heart and you desperately wanted to join the others and be visible again.
As we age, hide and seek is no longer a game and the older we become the more invisible we may feel. Heads no longer turn as we pass by. When we can’t contribute to the conversations of our much younger friends its assumed that our interest in life is disintegrating along with our joints.
The extent of this disappearing act is often more of a choice than we realize, however. Some people will always choose to experience life in an interior way. But for those of us who value interaction, the same physical challenges that impede or change our creative process can cause us to shrink from attempting things that we’re still able to do. There may be a necessary winnowing of activities in later years, but no real need in many cases to give up the things that are most important to us. It’s surprising how visible we become when others notice that we continue to be excited about life and to pursue new ideas and to learn new things.
I recently heard a wise and erudite man in his late nineties proclaim that he stayed engaged by simply getting out of bed every morning and “pushing forward.” It reminded me of my grandmother’s rule that you should never turn down a party. Sometimes I’m too tired to attend, sometimes it’s just easier to stay home, but I’m always rewarded when I invite the world into my creative process by making the effort to be as visible as possible.