A decade ago (maybe more) Wayne Dyer introduced me to a concept that changed my thinking. Google him and "Following Your Bliss". Essentially, he posits that being true to your own inner yearnings and passions will open doors and create positive, transformative energy. Currently, Deepak Chopra discusses the same thing though his terminology is different. What they are saying is this: we make our own reality. I recall freshman philosophy. Descartes, Kant, etc. These guys have it all over them with the advantage of a global perspective. It's refreshing.
I have friends that are aging. They are becoming aware of their limited time left on this earth, and regardless of their religious beliefs or political persuasions, the thing they have in common is their feeling of urgency; they have something they were meant to do during their time here. They are following their bliss, connecting with their cosmic energy, acknowledging the God within. Say it anyway you like. They have a vision they need to make real.
Funny. I'm slowly approaching retirement age (I have a few years to go). And I think this may be the most dynamic period in my life. I have close contemporaries who are living frugal lifestyles despite higher degrees to A) write the novel, B) build the educational center, C) create their own meaningful art. Beautiful. It's a mid-to-late-life Renaissance. The heck with the status-quo. We have visions. Passion. Direction. And a deadline. Literally. As Martha would say, "It's a Good Thing." Some goals are lofty; some small. We have an inner voice that speaks to us, if we choose to listen.
I like to think of it as a conservation of time and resources. Like the green movement, we, as aging artists and dreamers know we have limited resources (time and money). We want to make it mean more and last longer; leave something behind. So some of us choose to live frugally, and create our visions. Some of us didn't make it, and we hold them in our hearts as we move on.
"Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices? I've heard them calling my name. Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors? The voice might be one and the same. I've heard it too many times to ignore it. It's something that I'm supposed to be. Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me." (Written by Paul Williams and used by Kermit the Frog, of The Muppets, Jim Henson Productions).