More change creativity and play

Change creativity play
Acknowledgement of country

Change, creativity and play. Three of my favourite states, which are also my current favourite words, hover on my horizon. For this, I’m truly grateful. My eighty-seventh year seems full of promise, and not at all like the gloom I dreaded just before my birthday a few weeks ago.

Miserable, bored and fearful about what my closer to 90-than-80-life held, I cast around for what could change. I needed new insights about how I want my life to be, and what would make a difference. Obviously, nothing would change if nothing changed. Ball in my court!

Casting around for role models of older women living exciting and playful lives, several instantly came to mind.

First, the prolific Australian author Helen Garner, one of my all-time favourites. Helen has written fiction, non-fiction, essays, diaries and memoir. Check out her wonderful essay, ‘The insults of age,’ which first appeared in the Monthly in 2015.

In thise essay, she lists some of the many ways women, especially older women, are insulted and put down. She says,

Really, it is astonishing how much shit a woman will cop in the interests of civic and domestic order.

She goes on to provide several examples of how she now deals with what is offered to her as an older woman.

British actress Helen Mirren (born 1945) once told an interviewer why the first words she’d have taught her daughter (if she’d had one) would have been ‘F… Off!’ I watched the video again, and loved it as much the second (or was it the tenth?) time I’d seen it.

Helen Mirren’s playfulness and energy are amazing. You can read more about her career here.

Then there’s this snippet from poet Deeksha Tripathi, author of 50 Shades of Life and Me:

When I am told by you

what to do, what not to do,

How to do, how not to do,

All I say in my mind is f…You

These three women claim their own lives in ways that are creative, playful and assertive. They demonstrate the importance of maintaining boundaries and refusing to accept societal and personal nonsense about being female and older.

I’ve said the F-word often, most recently to excellent effect to a much younger man who insisted in standing in my way, on my property. I may never need to say the word out loud again. It’s unlikely, but I may even learn ways to protect myself by using different language.

Other people’s opinions of me are not as important as my need to take care of, and to honor, myself. I don’t care who thinks I’m sweet and gentle, or even whether they think I’m feminine or charming. My personal attributes are none of their business.

My decision to embrace change means I can take back my life, my autonomy and my authority. There’ll be much less trying to please others and more playfulness and creativity.

Already, my energy has increased and I’m thinking of ways to nurture creativity in small and not so small ways.

signature, maureen helen
Photo, Maureen Helen
Maureen Helen


  1. I love, love this! How wonderful! And again, I learn from you, Maureen 🙂
    Yes, I too am ‘called’ to a greater freedom of self expression via creativity. This I do through more time for art and craft, in my garden and in decorating according to my taste. All up, being creative honours who I am!

    1. You are very kind, Susan D. Thank you. It felt like time to reclaim a whole lot of stuff that belongs to me that has been subsumed into the needs of other people. Including my right and need to exprezss myself in whatever way I want to. I’m sure this way leads to a different expression of creativity.

    2. I missed this comment, Susan D. Thank you for your comment about freedom and creativity. I love the statement, ‘being creative honours who I am’ and I’d add, ‘and who I’m meant to become’.

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