For some women at the midpoint of their lives, feeling they’ve hit a mundane patch and longing for some excitement or an infusion of creativity is fairly common.
If you feel that ‘something is missing’, this is the right time to be daring and explore beyond your typical day. Being middle-aged is a time that should invite you to experience new and exciting ideas. And, the best part? You don’t need to devote endless hours if you are pulled in all directions by ageing parents or demanding adult offspring.
The tips in this article provide a roadmap for finding hobbies to exercise your creative mind in your midlife and inject the ‘awe’ back into ‘awesome’ whatever your age.
Start by identifying your genuine interests and passions, then pick one to actively explore. Rather than accepting that life slows down or can be less interesting or exciting as we age, get ready to challenge and reverse what is expected from today’s middle-aged women.
Delve into what sparks your creativity in midlife
In research backed up by a recent article in The Guardian, the normal definition of ‘middle age’ for women continues to be re-evaluated. Today’s midlife women are still experiencing postmenopausal zest, that glorious time when they are free to reappraise their lives with renewed power, and joie de vivre.
Thanks to the conventional understanding of ‘middle age‘ persistently evolving, women today enter an exciting period marked with the liberating opportunity to reassess their lives. And what better way to embrace their new chapter than embracing a new hobby?
“Spontaneous creativity cannot arise naturally from the soul, which always seeks to express itself in innovative ways“, explains Dr Connie Zweig PhD, author of ‘The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul‘. “But in moments of transition, the barriers to connecting with the creative soul grow thinner and the call to create grows stronger. At midlife, we may stop and reflect on our journey, eventually reclaiming lost creative impulses and exploring new forms of expression”.
Uncovering hidden talents or developing skills through playful practice (have you thought of becoming a cosplayer?) is probably one of the best ways to achieve greater inspiration, cognitive flexibility, and well-being. Even if you’ve never really considered yourself a creative person, remember, this is a skill that can be developed and explored over time.
Also, you don’t need to be dedicating hours on end; hobbies can be enjoyed a little at a time while still allowing you to enjoy benefits in creative thinking and problem-solving – the only thing you really need is curiosity and a willingness to try new things.
Don’t let your creativity be stopped by inner ageism
The reason for pursuing a hobby is the sheer joy of the process, not the outcome. In this way, creativity becomes more than a hobby; it becomes a practice.
However, sometimes we may feel stuck in a rut because we let inner obstacles challenge our creativity (we may hear phrases like “I can’t learn that now,” “It’s too late,” or “I’m too slow.”)
“Ageism has robbed us of the vision of late-life creativity, leading in part to the disorientation many of us experience today” concludes Connie Zweig. “But research indicates that the range of creative potential across a lifespan has been underestimated. If your internalized ageism blocks your soul’s yearning to create, take a breath, observe it, and remember that it’s not who you are”.
The first step on the road to re-evaluating what you want as you enter midlife is to fuel your creativity with a true self-examination. This means examining your ‘real middle-aged self’ and not falling back into the rut of interests that are not floating your boat any more.
The truth is that you’re never too old to pick up a new hobby. Whether you’re looking for something active, or that you can do at home, there’s something creative for you to try out there.
Take some time just to think about the types of activities you have always been curious to try but never made the time for. Just walking around a craft store amid the chalk, paints, scrapbooks and bric-a-brac might remind you of an old passion or a fun craft you always wanted to try. Sometimes just visiting an art gallery or museum might remind you that you always wanted to paint or learn how to throw ceramics. Going to a concert might even spark your interest in learning an instrument.
Rather than expecting or looking for the signs of a midlife crisis, identify your innate interests and rebrand them as a gift for fuelling your creativity as they often point to potential hobbies or areas of passion waiting to be unlocked. Maybe you’ve wanted to learn photography or speak a foreign language, write short stories, or arrange flowers the Japanese way. Or maybe you’re more on the sporty side and you’d like to explore paddleboarding, wild swimming, martial arts or join dance classes.
Spend some time reflecting on what excites or energizes you – this doesn’t need to be complex; even simple things like reading books on a new topic, following influencers on social media, noticing patterns in TV shows, movies, podcasts or other media you enjoy, can spark new ideas and lead to new hobbies.
Once you have identified some interests, choose one to pursue actively. Try not to censor yourself or hold back due to lack of experience or skill.
As a beginner, give yourself permission to explore and play without judgment. Your genuine enthusiasm and curiosity will drive you to improve and fuel ongoing creativity over time.
Find new hobbies and collaborate to generate new ideas
If you feel unsure about how to nurture your creativity, working together in groups of like-minded and similar-aged women sparks ideas you may never discover on your own and it’s also a great way to make connections with people. Whether you play a round of golf or take a class, you’ll network in more natural and relaxed settings than industry meetings.
By surrounding yourself with others who share your hobby interests and creative passion, you can achieve and learn more than you ever would solo. Also, working with a team would give you accountability and lift you up during midlife struggles or periods of low motivation or self-doubt, while pushing your creative boundaries.
One option worth considering if you want to work together in groups is joining a local community theatre or an improvisation group. Acting exercises your creativity through roleplay and performance while giving you the opportunity to work with others.
Taking a creative writing workshop is another collaborative option. In a workshop setting, you can share works in progress, provide feedback for others, and generate new ideas together. Look for workshops focused on poetry, fiction, and blogging, or explore other resources that you’re keen to master.
Checking with nearby craft stores or hobby shops may also uncover opportunities like free or low-cost classes or community workspaces and clubs where people can collaborate on DIY projects together.
Finding an accountability partner—someone to share creative works with, swap ideas, cheer each other on, and keep one another accountable—is also valuable even if you have different areas of interest. You can provide motivation and support to each other in pursuing hobbies and projects.
Taking up a new hobby can change the way you think and even lead to exciting new life chapters or career opportunities. Learning new activities – especially ones where your brain needs to work out a solution – broadens your mind and forces you to focus. What are you waiting for? If not now, then when?