September a time for new beginnings
September has always been my favourite month of the year. A new school-term. A new rough book and a sharp pencil. A new teacher, excited to introduce the term’s work, and to learn our names. It’s a time of new possibilities. The harvest has been gathered in and the fields lie fallow, waiting for new crops to be sown.
It is the month I got married, and the month our daughter was born. When the leaves start to fall and my pockets fill with shiny conkers and acorns snug within their cups, my heart soars. I went for a run this morning, delighting in the crunch of leaves beneath my feet and the golden glow of sun, low in the sky now that summer has been spent. I got to thinking. This time in my life, it is like the fall. My achievements: building a successful business, raising a family, caring for ageing parents, are my harvest. I have toiled hard and loved every moment, but it is now done. Like the bronze and gold leaves at my feet, I have shed these responsibilities, and I am at a new stage in my life. A time to create something new.
Creativity increases during and post menopause
There is scientific evidence that women become more creative during and after menopause as a result of hormonal change (Dr. Christaine Northrup https://www.drnorthrup.com). I believe it is more than hormonal change. Men and women reach a time in their life when they experience a freedom that they haven’t known before. The harvest has been gathered and we reflect on the fallow field before us. We become introspective, questioning our true purpose in life. No longer required to serve others, we can dance to our own tune. In this time of reflection, we discover our intuition and insightfulness. It is no wonder we experience a surge of creativity. Alan Titchmarsh, once said on a Gardening programme, that we become invigorated in the spring because we can smell the plant sap of new growth. Maybe it is sensing our unfulfilled potential that awakens our longing to create when we begin our autumn years.
Don’t let a believe that it is too late to fulfil your dreams hold you back. I was really inspired by Penelope Fitzgerald’s story, (see Hermione Lee’s biography). Fitzgerald started publishing her books at the age of sixty. At the age of eighty, she became famous after winning the Booker Prize in 1978 for her novel Offshore, and then international fame when The Blue Flower won a major award in America. Her novels, like mine, tend to be about people living on the edges of society, combining pathos with humour. Maybe that’s why I was drawn to her work. She was a remarkable woman who led a full and fascinating life, experiencing hardship herself for many years.
Your creative yearnings may not be as a writer. We are all creative, and fulfilling this need is as important as our spiritual, physical, psychological, and emotional needs. Your creativity might be expressed in the interior design of your home, a meal prepared for friends, quilting, or gardening. The list is endless. What is important is that you make time to express your creativity and enjoy it.
A new term
I remember travelling home from work on the train one evening on the first day of term. The carriage was static with excitement and anticipation as students of all ages chatted about the courses they were studying. A couple of women were getting to know one another, as they spoke about the healthcare module they had just begun. A group of teenagers compared subject choices, eager to share how they saw their future unfolding with university options and careers. I breathed in the energy and felt high!
Autumn is a time of change. Of new beginnings. Maybe you are thinking about retirement or your children have left home for university. Approach the coming months as though it is a new term. There is a fallow field before you. Now is the time to unleash your creativity. It is exciting and it may be a little scary, but beginnings always are.
I will be spending the months leading up to Christmas writing my third novel, Misdirection, and learning about marketing as I prepare to launch my second novel Just Bea on 1st February. I would love to hear about your plans whether it is a craft project, your garden, or your novel/poetry. Let’s be like the teenagers buzzing with news about their plans on the first day back at school!