You can find your passion at Fifty. It’s not easy. If you seek you shall find. Up until this moment, the rhythm of life had me bouncing along—raising a family, balancing a career and then, that phase of life just ends. It’s not sudden, but if you are caught in the flow, you fail to observe the change. I had never really stopped to wonder what I might like to become. As I sat by the Lyngngam river, playing with the pebbles in the water on a holiday to Meghalaya, I had an epiphany—I wanted to become a river.
I really enjoyed the way it flowed timelessly oblivious to its surroundings focused and unstoppable as it moves forward, excited and charged. So, what was that one thing that could truly ignite me – that one thing that I could dream about and help me experience timelessness. How could I find myself, and shape the next twenty-five years of my life.This time around, I was certain, I had absolutely no time to waste and I was armed with awareness. I wanted to watch myself grow everyday, enjoying every precious moment. I had to realize my potential.
Art had been a hobby in childhood. I had dabbled with some paints and formats growing up. It did interest me and I had tried going back to it a couple of times but it never really took any concrete shape. The paints dried and the paper yellowed. But the faint memory I had of mixing a colour palette, made me feel very alive. I wanted to reinvent myself. I did not want to feel limited. I decided to give myself a fair chance yet again. This time round, I made sure I invest the time. In the beginning I doodled on reused paper lying around, using left over paints and old colour pencils. It forced me to think about my creative space at home – something I had never done before.
As I tried to extract out dried old paint from tubes of cobalt blue and crimson, I realized that I had a chance to learn a new art form. So, I set a daily art objective for myself. Now there was an outcome to measure myself on. As I did more of it, I became better. The goal became to improve and so I decided to put a metric and create 500 pieces of work in 90 days. Keeping a count helped me track the quantity of work I was doing. I had to get into the discipline of sitting on a desk and doing this at a stretch. It required focus and prioritizing all other activities in my life. Quality at that point was not important. As I look back now, I applied my Professional Quality training to my art what I could measure, I could improve. Around this time, I was introduced to Pinterest by my daughter, A. Social media opened up a new universe. Exposure to an art form, I hardly knew about. There was a whole world out there, there were photographs and artworks to see – Inspiration galore!
She also created an Instagram account for me and coaxed me to post my work on this very visual platform. Initially she would just upload my artwork. As I started watching the work of other artists and interacted with them, I realized I needed to invest in better art material. A large part of my time was spent in figuring out art materials. I had to learn to invest in my passion if I wanted to get better.
Around this time, A insisted that I start to post my work myself and on a regular basis which meant I had to first learn to work the app and then create content. This one thing became a big motivation to sit on my desk twice a day. So I had to plan a pipeline and then create for it. All my waking hours were consumed with trying to improve the quality of my work. So now I had to focus on quantity and quality as well. Social media helped me build a universe and ecosystem where I could ask and give help unconditionally. Fear and threat were replaced by appreciation and kindness. And that egged me on my journey.
Quality I understood was a function of better art material and skill. I was already figuring out my tools but I also realised I needed training and booked myself for in-person classes in Spain, at the Alhambra. And then Covid struck and the world changed. Talk about, how the universe supports you – the classes that I was to attend in person, went online!
So, the first lockdown became synonymous with me attending online art classes. There would be much planning at home as I would prepare to attend classes every weekend in the evening. It became the high point of everyone’s life. Dinner was cooked in advance and house work duties allocated so I could prepare and attend classes. I must admit that I was nervous the first day of class because I wasn’t sure I would be able to last a three-hour session—what if, I was unable to cope with the class, what if, I did not have relevant art materials.The fear was real.
To cut a long story short, not only did I complete the session but took another set of classes over the next three months later in the year. I now realize that it was the passion for what I did which helped me improve. Continuous practice helped. I would spend countless hours creating art. There is a value to my time.
Investing in myself with patience and love fills the gaps between my thoughts. So, when I am not creating, I am researching and reading up on different art techniques and art forms, looking for inspiration for my next art piece. Since I am very new to water colour painting, I am continuously experimenting with paint and paper. Infact many a time, I now dye my paper with tea water, onion peels and even marigold petals (Diwali leftovers!) I always travel with my art tools and spend each day on nurturing my creativity. I really enjoy the fact that my passion envelopes me. It becomes my cocoon and it also gives me wings to fly.
It has been an interesting journey, the second wind – a time to focus on my priorities and taking responsibility for my personal growth. When you do good work, you evolve every day. Most importantly, you are able to see your evolution through the work you do and that centres you. The silence that I work in, has a music of its own and it can be quite addictive and fulfilling.
This poem by Rose Milligan kept coming up…
Dust if you Must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again
Geetanjali Pande is a retired Corporate Executive who now focuses on her Art Practice as her new passion. Her Instagram handle is @geetanjali_art and she is available on