crotchety old womanI often recall the words of Clint Eastwood. When asked how he stays so young, he simply replied, “I don’t let the old man in.”

Yesterday, the old woman knocked on my door. She arrives silently with her crotchety, destructive attitude. Of course, my resiliency is waning since I’m in the process of slaying a fierce, self-depleting cold. I’m also feeling urgency to get into the studio and produce work. Amidst all this, there are people.

Ugh, PEOPLE! They’re in my house. In my house with their boots, their lead pipes, their full bladders and worse; we’re paying them for the unwelcome intrusion. They’re drilling through brick over my right shoulder while I’m beating away the old, curmudgeon-broad on my left. Help me rally, Clint!!!

I haven’t always given myself permission to be who I am, but once you allow yourself to fully be an artist, things change. It’s something of a Pandora’s box, when you agree to give yourself to the muse. You realize you’re her bitch. You become a vessel for the art, and sometimes, a cranky, nasty, intolerant vessel. Still, it’s not an excuse. Let’s reframe it as an opportunity.

An opportunity to use my creativity differently; find a different way. I’m not the kind of artist who’s comfortable painting in the town square. I can write anywhere, but when I paint, I go into my own personal space. The process carries me, as I surf the creative waves, problem solve and commune with the canvas. When I do this, I do it alone. My muse is shy and jealous. She won’t show herself in front of hard hats, demanding eyes or other unwelcome interlopers. My writing muse is an exhibitionist – they’re just….different.

Clint’s words remind me life is richer when we push personal boundaries, remain tolerant, maintain a flexible world-view and are curious about new experiences. My husband gently told me it would be best not to let the old lady in – as I’ve chased his old man away countless times. So, I adjusted, and today I write, because, as I’ve said, I can do it anywhere. Right now, I’m writing in front of the workmen…openly…blatantly…shamelessly.

Today is not yesterday. Yesterday it was raining and I felt feverishly weak. Yesterday, I had plans I was unwilling to change, so my illusion of control was dampened. Yesterday, I felt more “alone.”

Old manToday, the sun is beaming, my step is quicker, spring petals fly on the breeze…my heart is nourished. Today I can glimpse the illusion of control over my own destiny. I feel supported by people who love me, in spite of my affair with the muse.

There are seasons to our world, our lives, and even our days. There never is a season for the old woman (click to Tweet). She’s a ornery one, her. She doesn’t have our best interest at heart. She doesn’t take into account the interest of anyone else, either. She’s like the bad mother-in-law that lives between your ears –  small, fearful, angry and she will make mud of our lives. It’s best not to invite her, entertain her or talk with her at all.

Have you met your old man or old woman? Does he or she have a name? A face? A room in your house? Maybe she/he sleeps beside you. Evict them now before they become part of your identity. It will be much harder if you have to try to kill them later. The one who takes up residence in your heart is not dictated by time, or experience…it the choice you make (click to Tweet). I choose to snub the old woman and opt for the magic. How about you?

Keep The Magic,



Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived Life by drinking in the beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie. 

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