Community//

Two Girls Discover Their Inner Artists…45+ Years Later

The year was 1972. We were 16 and 17.

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

Both considered “smart girls” my friend Beth and I had to choose between “Science Core” and “Social Studies Core.” These AP classes were designed to super-charge our intellects and help us on our paths to becoming the wonder women of the 1980s. 

And so, we continued on those high-power academic and career tracks. Although we were both creative and never hid our love of culture and art, we didn’t believe that it was a path to building careers and making money. I have fond memories of gathering at Beth’s house with our classmates and knitting/crocheting cozy throws for our dorm beds. We took a break from SAT scores and exams and exercised our right brain hemispheres.

Beth went on to Princeton/Harvard and became a physician. I graduated from the University of Michigan and NYU and rose up the corporate ladder as a brand marketer. We both had two kids. We got married (and subsequently divorced).

Fast forward 45+ years.

I surprised Beth Thanksgiving weekend by showing up at her first art show and sale. We talked about how, as empty-nesters and pre-retired women in our 60s, we have rediscovered our creative sides. We may live longer and happier lives as a result. Medical research suggests that exercising creative muscles has a positive impact on both mental and physical health.


“A hundred years ago, it was commonly believed that people could not be creative past middle age. Now most Americans can expect a “second middle age”—a stage of adulthood between fifty and seventy-five created by our increased longevity and good health.”


 Lydia Bronte in The Longevity Factor, as quoted by Stamford University

When we were busy building our careers and raising our kids we probably saw art as frivolous. Or we simply lacked the energy and inspiration to indulge in creative projects beyond mandatory pumpkin carving and the occasional hand-knitted sweater. 

Neither of us regrets the choices we made. We’ve both lived amazing lives — filled with science, humanities, AND art. Perhaps we appreciate our crafts (mixed-media for Beth and writing for me) because they never were a full-time job. 

Although we should encourage our kids, grandchildren, and protegees to learn how to code and embrace STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), we should let also them know that their artistic passions do not have to remain dormant for 45 years. Exercising that right side is every bit as important as memorizing the periodic table, building a robot, or bringing home that soccer trophy. 

As we age, let’s remember the crafts that gave us joy in our youth — or pick up a new hobby. We may live longer for it.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“We should start a movement to bring tech to urban schools and to girls” With Ellen Weber of Temple University

by Yitzi Weiner
Community//

“How you can incorporate the science of behavior economics into your marketing” With Author Will Leach

by Yitzi Weiner
Community//

“Why effective leaders need to create opportunities for their team to grow” With Gladys Kong, CEO of UberMedia

by Yitzi Weiner

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.