Midlife Dilettantes Unite

Theresa-Venus and I are passionate about golf. We love to play, and we especially love to play together. She observed just the other day how much better our respective golf games have become now we’ve reached our fifties vs how much we struggled and fought to improve when in our forties. (Yeah, we’ve been playing that long and we still have substantial handicaps!) Yet, we seem to be striving less and enjoying more. Is it possible that we are finally relaxing into our pursuits, finding the simple joy and pleasure with less of the internal pressure to "be good at it."? And in some bizarre twist of fate, we’ve actually gotten better? It sure seems like it. And while we don’t have a literal scorecard for our artistic endeavors, we believe we’ve gotten better at those too.

One of the ways we Venuses are growing ourselves in the "heat" of midlife comes down to finding and expressing a passion. As we explore creating a Vision for the second half of our lives, we begin to ask ourselves what we want to do, be, or manifest. What we are passionate about, what excites and moves us? And we discover that passion doesn’t necessarily have to be about doing. We can be passionate about peace or contentment as easily as we can thrill to a project or endeavor.

At a recent annual gathering, one of the goddesses was wrestling with her own search for a passion. "How do you know what you’ll be good at?" she queried. "I’m trying yoga and biking (where I also connect with my husband). I enjoy physical pursuits, but there’s no real passion there. It’s hard to start – every one of my friends is already good at something. So many here [the Venuses] are good at photography."

Karen-Venus jumped in with sage advice. "You need to make a distinction between doing something and having to be good at it versus doing something just for the delight and enjoyment. I tried dancing. I’m the worst tap dancer in the theater group. I’m never going to be good. But I love it and I do it for the passion and joy, not for the achievement. And the more I accept being the worst dancer in the class, the more I relax and the better I dance."

She went on. "It doesn’t have to be just one thing – it can be many things. Let yourself try things on: are you a beader? A knitter? As we grow older we can open up rather than focus on one or two channels. Try something. Start with a one day workshop. See what takes, what fires you up. Again, maybe it’s not one thing; maybe it’s many. Dilettante is not a dirty word for a midlife woman!"

With that in mind, let’s make a midlife pact with one another. We’ll boldly, passionately do whatever we like. And if we don’t yet know what that is, we’ll jump into something, anything, everything that catches our interest with our whole being. And we sure as heck won’t worry about being good at it! Let’s be divas of dilettantism, practitioners of passion, and mavens of marvelous things!

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3 Responses to Midlife Dilettantes Unite

  1. Patricia Papp September 23, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    I recently took on yet another project. I was asked to be a Beauti Control Consultant in Lake Tahoe. The approach from my recruiter was that I had the ability to connect with my Soroptimist Group. I asked if I could donate a portion of my sales and the answer was "YES"! That was it for me. I can help others, and myself, with this choice. Now you may wonder what this has to do with golf. Absolutley nothing! However, it does have to do with "finding your passion". I love this organization (Soroptimists International of Tahoe Sierra), and am thankful everyday to be a part of such a dynamic group of women. My weekly morning meeting provides such validation for me that the women in this group are passionate and committed. Age goes out the window. The majority in the club are over 50 and proud of it. Goes to show that a passion, whatever it is, is ageless!

    So play golf, volunteer, be happy doing "whatever", just do it!

  2. Rae Young September 23, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    I agree, go out there and find something that puts a smile on your face, it only has to please you, no one else. I found finding the time to spent time on my pleasures the hardest. I would fall back into (okay, jump back into) the care-taker position and give up the time for my own passions to take care of others. It took a lot of "personal talks "to myself to get rid of the guilt. So gals take a tip from me, you've gave enough to others , they have grown up and can take care of themselves, especially if we let them…… now we need to take some time for us.

  3. theresa souers September 23, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    Hear, hear here and now. The more I realize that the outcome of an act is not as important as the doing of the act, the more fun I am having with the doing. The here and now! And, surprise surprise, the outcome seems to be handling itself better without my interference. Whack – hit the ball – great shot. Awesome. Whack, hit the ball – what the hell??? Smile, (blame it on whatever outside excuse I can find – certainly not my doing) and Whack – hit the ball.

    Life is so much more fun when you simply do what you love/love what you do and trust in the universe to do what it will with that love.

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