On a Texas Monthly Magazine article on Willie Nelson, still touring in his 80’s.
Joe and I were discussing recently where we saw ourselves going. I am a writer (in a variety of type) and producer and Joe is far from artistic. But he likes his work and what he does and has many things that he wants to actually do in life, many of which involve work.
As a writer, I simply never see myself ending…retiring. Just…stopping.
I plan to write and create until the end of my days…to die with that half finished book or movie. I mean…what? Say “Just stop at age 65?” No…I can’t see it. when my arthritis won’t allow, my assistants hands of some young and up and coming writer or technology itself will keep me going on. My brain may dim but the words will still land on page…take them as you may. By then I may be racing to write it all down…every memory..every piece of my life I am soon to leave behind. Every dream I have not had enough life to live.
Joe works a job I could never imagine working and yet in some form or another and with much climb and change but from within he also doesn’t see just quitting at any point. In some fashion he will grow and evolve but still…do.
Reading this article about Willie Nelson just makes me think and realize “Yes, many stopped. Maybe they lived their amount as felt needed for them. Maybe they quit. They even gave up. Some before they made their name, and their music or their art or whatever they were creating…others simply gave up long before they even really tried. And then there are the Willie Nelsons in the world.
You don’t do it for a time. You don’t do it while you are young. You don’t do it for a retirement. You do it because it IS you. It is what you DO. and how you live and breathe. It is what keeps you going. And you will do it until the day you die, or can’t…if can’t is a word in your life at all.
The travel is hard on anybody…much less a person of their 80’s. The tours and the hot lights. And many still keep going. Gloria Steinem at aged 84 still does it in politics and activism. she travels and tours and speaks and teaches and strives for what IS her. People run for president in their 70’s to run an entire nation. Stephen Hawking, riddled with disease which should have, or would have for the normal person, stopped him long before, until the day he died at 76. Albert Einstein, also until he died at aged 76. Arianna Huffington who ran one successful company and late began yet another and is nowhere near stopping at age 67. Toni Morrison still going at age 87. Maya Angelou until her death at age 86. Hillary Clinton still going into her 70’s. and many others. And Willie Nelson continues to not only create music, but to play it. And to do the fun part sometimes comes with the hard part…the traveling, the business side of it. The tiring travel of hotel to hotel and city to city and stage to stage. The greats are who seem to never have an end…until the end. From artists to politics to business. One thing they all have in common is the passion for what they do and what they live their life for.
Writing began for me back in my teens when it was an escape from a very harsh childhood. When it was an escape from negativity I wrote. When I needed solace, I read. And I wrote some more. Writing has been my way of keeping in touch with people who mean a lot to me. It has been my memory. It has been finding my way. It has been my strength. My finding of understanding. My getting through from young age until now and will be forever. It is also my way of remembering my enjoyments of life. My way of remembering at all. My way of lovingly enjoying my memories and giving tribute to them. My words are my love…and sometimes have even been my anger. My words have been my map in life. And often my way of not missing out on my life. I don’t see ending that in any way to retire. To put down the pen and to walk away from the desk. For what? And for what would Willie Nelson stop playing and singing for? As he does it for himself as much as he does it to share.