Beauty Is Participatory. To Be Part of It Is to Be Vibrantly Alive

    Beauty is participatory. We can choose what to look at: the sky or the ground. We are not passive. We have agency in the world. We can decide what we want to focus on, where we decide to place our valuable attention. We can also decide how we want to express beauty in the world. The power to create is within each of us. It is part of being human. I have been thinking a lot about beauty and creativity lately, and how important they are for longevity.

    photo David Harry Stewart

    There is big-time creation, the Leonardo Sistine Chapel variety. There is also the decision of how we will decorate the cake today, what shoes we will wear, if we’ll plant some flowers, do our makeup for an outing, mow the lawn in verticals or horizontals to look best. These decisions are not just for our own satisfaction, they are gifts we give to those around us. It is all about caring: for ourselves and the people around us.

    To create in acts large and small is to connect to our vitality. Think of the opposite, the total ceasing of all creating; that sure doesn’t look very healthy to me. As I wrote last week, I grew up in a small rural town with a single mom. But there was a library. We did not have much spare money. My mom would go to the library and we could borrow records to listen to, or copies of famous art to have in the house for a while. Attention to beauty is not limited by resources, it is only limited by desire and imagination.

    photo David Harry Stewart

    I find these small touches of attention to beauty to be the most impactful. Sure, if I had billions, wouldn’t it be nice to make a museum? In fact, I would say it would be an obligation to do something similar if one were in those circumstances. But it is the beauty that people put into the small efforts that I find most touching. The way a table is set, the special hat worn only on Easter, the man who spends his Sunday polishing his ’68 Camaro. These are signs of an electric attachment to life, and to the joy it brings.

    photo David Harry Stewart

    I find that I rise to the level of the people I surround myself with. When I am around creative, vital, positive people, it rubs off on me. It’s something I forget, something I would like to deny, but I am not self-propelled. All of you help me to raise my level and to raise my gaze to the beauty in the world.
    David Stewart
    David Stewart
    David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

    More Stories

    Hiroshi Fujiwara, 55: Men’s Style Icon

    The realm of what is acceptable and what is possible in everything to do with people our age needs some radical expanding. What does...

    Ann-Sophie “Fred” Lakso, 56: Love and Sex Addiction Therapist

    People call you Fred — where did that come from? My real name, Ann-Sofie, always ended up as either Sofie or Ann. One time somebody...

    AGEIST Arts and Culture Roundtable Dinner

    From time to time we like to assemble some of the leading minds in the AGEIST network for dinner and discussion around a specific...

    Quick and Easy Raw Coconut Protein Balls Recipe

    This Keto Coconut Recipe Is Sure to Make Your Sweet Cravings Disappear By Ingrid De La O. All photos by TUSOL Wellness.These are so fast...

    Fully Alive at the Modern Elder Academy 

    Waking to the sound of Pacific waves breaking had become a welcome change to the usual morning symphony of traffic and sirens in our...

    LATEST Profiles

    Ann-Sophie “Fred” Lakso, 56: Love and Sex Addiction Therapist

    People call you Fred — where did that come from? My real name, Ann-Sofie, always ended up as either Sofie or Ann. One time somebody...

    David Turns 61: The most creative and productive year of his life.

    Today is my 61st birthday. It feels different from 60, weightier. But really, the whole idea of being anywhere near this age is a...

    Wesley Rowell, 59: The Accidental Preacher

    At the age of 59, Wesley Rowell became a preacher. This was not something he had ever imagined doing.“I turned 59 on Sep 21...