When retirement becomes a topic we can no longer avoid, it obviously means it is ominously drawing nearer and nearer. Especially for people who love their jobs, ceasing work is farthest from their minds. These workaholics have a passion that has never been extinguished from the day they started their careers. So, now that they have more office juniors than contemporaries in the workplace, they feign obliviousness, frequently evading the subject of retirement for as long as they can. Artists are no different. In fact, most well-known ones never stop working.
Being an artist isn’t easy. First, he has to try to please so many people in order to succeed. The whole world is his boss, telling him what to do all of the time. Second, his market is limited. He isn’t selling a necessity in our lives. Usually, only the rich can afford the expensive paintings or sculptures. Even books and films, which are considerably cheaper, are now being distributed free of charge on the internet. This leads us to the question: why do artists continue producing art despite the lack of appreciation from the buying public? The answer is simple. They don’t work to satisfy others. When they finish a piece that they have been working on, the sole criterion for deciding whether this particular thing is indeed done is their degree of satisfaction. If they approve of it, it is enough. They don’t create art as a career, as most of us believe. Although a few try to keep buyers happy if only to make ends meet, ultimately, they go by their emotions. For most of them, what comes out of their creative mind is an outcome which they should be proud of. Even if their careers are not doing well, they still trudge on purely because they love it. It is their calling. They identify themselves with nothing else. As a matter of fact, they never retire. The older they get, the more experiences they gather not just from mastering their craft but also from life’s little lessons. So, the popular ones work well beyond their seventies because ironically, having grasped the meaning of life and taken all skills from a lifetime of successes and failures, they can now have complete freedom to do what they want. This time, it is not their bread and butter.
In spite of constant retirement woes, an artist takes everything in stride, knowing fully well that this is the time to create a legacy without having to worry about paying last month’s rental. It is also the opportunity to try something relatively new. A famous singer can probably try his hand at songwriting. In the same way, an actor might direct his first film without worrying about fans’ reception. A painter may pick a different medium just as an experiment. Or it could be an altogether different field. Only one thing is certain; the passion is still there, but the anxiety, which was once so visibly formidable, has vanished along with the younger years.