Alpha-Chartreusei (Detail) by Marka Harwell-Bentley

Thinking about starting something over, or starting some big new thing, after 50—which, full disclosure, I am post-half-century—is sometimes scary. I try to remember my mom, who started being a fiber artist considerably later than that. Maybe even a decade later, around 60. She was probably scared, too, at some point. But she was also excited and fulfilled by it.

She didn’t stop working a day job for several years, and kept up her work with humbling tenacity. She worked on it every day, at least a little, sometimes many hours. I wish her work ethic had been one of the many amazing things I was just lucky to inherit or that lodged themselves into my brain by osmosis or repetition.

Lessons learned at the closest point:

  • Don’t worry how old you are, you’re the youngest you’ll ever be right now.
  • Working as a daily habit is better and inexorably builds on itself.
  • If you despair at your progress, remember the joy of working with your tools and materials. And a corollary, if you can’t be joyful, maybe you need to switch mediums?