Creative People Share What They Wish They’d Known at Every Age

In their 40s

Let go of control and be adaptable

“You can’t control everything. My uncle used to say to me, that we are like grass; it bends, but it doesn’t break. Even in turbulent times or uncertain times, it’s good for people to adapt, to embrace spontaneity and go with the flow and bend like grass, but not break. Be open to change and accept it with grace.” – Ted Vadakan, co-founder of Poketo, Los Angeles

Balance trust with accountability

“There was one instance with Poketo where we maybe put too much trust in a person and we didn’t get what we needed. While I always see the good side of people, at the same time you need to be accountable for whatever needs to get done and not just solely relying on someone else. To grow as a business, you need to find a balance between being the captain of your ship and being able to trust your crew.” –Ted Vadakan


In their 50s

Set your own rules

“Now I’m approaching my fifties, I wish I knew earlier that you set your own rules. Part of why I worked so hard for so many years was this pressure to keep up. But I realized that was a pressure I was putting on myself – no one else was telling me that I had to work that hard or take on that many projects at once. We invent our own rules and we have control, which is pretty cool if you can orient yourself to it in a healthy way.” – Lisa Congdon


In their 60s

Have patience and perseverance

“Even the things I’m unhappy about in my life have allowed me to persevere and to be patient. I now know that things will take a lot longer than you think they will to achieve. If you don’t have patience or perseverance, you’re not going to be able to work.” – Maira Kalman, illustrator and artist, New York City


In their 70s

There are highs and lows at any age

“There are hills and valleys, some deeper than others, some higher than others. In your mid-twenties you’re convinced that you know everything. By your 30s and 40s you’re beginning to understand that this may not be so. For me, the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s have been filled with the desire to become a better artist.” – Ken Done, painter and designer, Sydney, Australia


h/t: [design taxi]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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