Joseph Campbell says, “The definition of middle age is, when you are at the top of the ladder, and found that it’s against the wrong wall”. How can we prevent this from happening?
Throughout my life I wanted to become an artist. Twenty years old, waiting in line to sign up for Speech Pathology and Audiology classes, I already knew that I didn’t want to follow this path. There were many reasons why I didn’t major in art, one it wasn’t practical, two I thought I had to have a special gift, three I had to support myself in the future.
Middle age started young for me, my ladder was on the wrong wall and my dreams were never acknowledged. It took having a child with Down’s syndrome at 38 years old, to finally give myself permission to follow my dream. Having my son Blake was definitely a wake up call, I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger and needed to make this leap of faith.
Sometimes, you don’t need much to motivate you, when you reach this point. This wasn’t a hobby I was attempting, but something I took very seriously. I asked a good artist friend of mine, where to go from here, “What should I do? Do I have potential? Was I too old? Would people think I was crazy?’ I had the dream, but no idea where to start. She was a great support. She told me it was never too late, (my biggest fear, as well as being called crazy) and suggested I take a class at my local junior college. This one little acknowledgement and permission was enough to take me on my journey. We all need this support when we are moving that ladder. The ladder is a lot easier to move with two people.
I’ll end this with another favorite quote of mine of Joseph Campbell’s, said so eloquently.
“All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time – namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA. You may purchase through contacting my email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (408) 460-7237. Thank you!