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Take a look at Yoko Ono. You wouldn’t think from her creative output that she’s 81. Picasso died at 91 still peaking. Cézanne considered himself a better artist in his 60s. Darwin published The Origin of Species at 50. Pete Seeger, before he passed this year, was still performing at 93. Willie Nelson is 81. Warren Buffett is almost 84. Frank Gehry is 85 and had just unveiled one of the most desired buildings in Paris in the last century. My old friend Robin Dyke published his first book of poems in his 70s.
What does creativity have to do with health and longevity? A study “Openness to Experience and Mortality in Men: Analysis of Trait and Facets” by Nicholas Turiano, Avron Spiro and Daniel Mroczek found that creativity might delay cognitive and physical decline. The study, however, can’t pin the exact reason for this. One of the reasonings is that “creative people find better ways of coping with their diminishing capabilities than their less resourceful counterparts.”
Everyone can adopt the facets of creativity that can help ward of the signs of aging. Experimentation, openness to new ideas, and flexibility in dealing with changes are three such creative cornerstones. These don’t seem restrictive to just the artists amongst us. The point is not to get stuck in sticking to the same and safe, but to stay mentally and physically active and challenged. I have said this before – take risks! Who knows? You might want to take up painting when you’re 65. The benefits are sure to outweigh the nonsense you might produce. Ask G.W. Bush (68).