The road ends, but the journey continues...

Thoughts Thought on The Longest Night MMXX

Can a 66 year-old woman begin her own designated Hero’s Journey? Again? Is it too late? Rather, is there time left in her life to dive into yet another Path that would surely reveal itself during that Journey?

In many ways, 2020 has been the dead-end to end the multiple dead-ends I’ve hit over the past few years in my creative life. One could say it has been the ending of an unconscious Hero’s Journey.

My generation has always championed the idea of jumping over one’s shadow. Elements of a traditional “Hero’s Journey” are hardwired into my everyday life. In fact, they were supported and modeled by my folks even as my life took shape. So, facing more adventures, twisty, turny changes, and making do are all just part of the mix. Mostly, knowing that in the midst of it all, surviving & thriving are not mutually exclusive and is a precious insight.

Somewhere along my (he)artist’s way, product and validation overtook process and creation. As such, the muse all but disappeared, the gift all but withered.

The focus to finish and get my project(s) ‘out there’ became so strong it obscured seedlings of exploration, experimentation and self-expression. And in the end, with little to show for that absorbing focus.

The good part to all of this is that the stubborn ruts I’d traveled were more easily seen for what they were – not an obstacle to the Path, but proof that I’d wandered from the Path.

So I have corrected my focus. I am firmly ensconced in choosing repertoire based upon pure desire to play/perfect what I want to play – not based upon some audience type or proficiency parameter. And the composing! Instead of keeping it in check so as not to overshadow my practice time and/or exploration of tangential instruments, I am fully leaning into those juicy sessions.

Yes, I have project(s) that are screaming to be ‘out there’. Many are in fact 99.9% ready to go…but I gave myself permission to just not angst over all the odds and ends I’m clearly not knowledgeable enough to do right now to finish them*.

In other words, I gave myself permission to do what I was meant to do: create music – play around with sound – and commune with the Giver of the Gift in doing so.

Meanwhile, this year marked the entry into one of my favorite type of birthdays – one of duplicate double digits. It’s just one of my things.

The last such marker was 5-5 Revive.

Surprisingly, this year’s spontaneously spoke forth as Route 6-6.

What? Taking to the road again, in this time of lock downs, life threatening environmental obstacles and lack of connection?

Yep. Maybe not literally, but certainly in allowing the muse, my music, to lead the way…instead of my dragging it along with me. Be the conduit, serve the Gift and enjoy the process.

If I am the only one to hear or see or understand what comes forth, then so be it.

But I’m willing to bet this ‘Hero’s Journey’ change in attitude might alter that solo scenario come 2021.

*That’s the extreme down side of all this DIY stuff that goes along with being an Indie (he)artist – having to do all the business stuff, packaging, marketing, registering, licensing, publishing, etc; and finding/hiring qualified people to do the production side of things. It simply is not as easily available as one would think. Not whining, just sayin’…


  1. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    All the best as you follow your muse. I hope it’s never too late! I am 71 and have ideas for the future. <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      My concern lies mostly with having enough time left to finish stuff – old and new projects! HA! Ideas populate my (he)art aplenty, too! So, no, it’s never too late, Cheryl.

  2. tierneycreates

    Catching up on your blog is a wonderful addition to my pot of tea and bowl of popcorn (I know – strange snack but then you were writing about “MMXX” where everything has been strange!). I am in my 50s so I am considering the 60s just the “teenage years” because I feel like you just sort of start over your journey at 50 🙂 with a fresh perspective. Love the Nat King Cole!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I am honored to have you snuggling with a bowl of fresh popcorn (lots of butter, I presume?) your quirky pot of tea by your side while catching up on some of my posts!
      I hadn’t thought of being in the middle of my teenage years from your point of view. I’ll have to explore my ‘inner teenager’ during my Route 6-6 adventures!!!HA!

  3. Jennie

    It’s never too late. Never. Yes, let music lead you. Travel where it takes you. It’s all there, inside you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks for the enthusiastic support, Jennie…always welcome!

      • Jennie

        I’m always your cheerleader, Laura. ?

        • laura bruno lilly

          Awww, you’re the best!

          • Jennie


  4. Marie A Bailey

    This is an uplifting post, Laura! This here — “I gave myself permission to just not angst over all the odds and ends I’m clearly not knowledgeable enough to do right now” — is where I am right now. I’ll learn on my journey, that’s what my journey is for, to learn and to live. Enjoy your double digits! I never thought of it before but I guess that’s one reason why I liked being 22, 33, 55 (for some reason, 44 was meh). Now you have me looking forward to 66, and I’m not far behind 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      6-6: watch out, here comes Marie A Bailey!
      Thank you so much for allowing me a glimpse into your own take on artistic angst!

  5. Andy

    I know what you mean about 2020 dead ends. I made notes as we went along to document how this lockdown affected us as a family. Entitled Six Months, from March to August, but that’s what it still remains-notes. I just can’t seem to get going.
    Earthsky I follow via FB and Twitter, I like that kind of thing ?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, hubby keeps me up on those celestial events. But I’m the one who brought the telescope into the marriage – HA! To be clear, there was no need for a telescope for the Christmas Star event…sooooo cool.
      ps-just got done from an immersive session on the practice stool…so ‘deadends’ do lead to something eventually. Passing you some (he)artistic Hope, bud.

      • Andy

        Hope received. New year, new beginning.

  6. Lavinia Ross

    I enjoyed your post, Laura. If there is any bright side to this pandemic, it may be that people come to appreciate being creative for themselves, and not beholden to some other standard. Create, enjoy, live! May 2021 be better for all.

    • laura bruno lilly

      And in the case of many of us who have been in this (he)artistic world for a long(er) time: REMEMBERING & getting back to why we create.
      I know you do exactly that in your own music, Lavinia

  7. Puzzles of the Soul

    I am 66 too, so go for it. This is your life and you can create, design what you wish to do you are the conductor of your orchestra. Blessings to you and your family

    • laura bruno lilly

      6-6: a very good year!

  8. Janis @

    Joseph Campbell writes about the circular path we travel on our hero’s journey, where we end at the spot we began. Arriving at a place of “pure desire and play” sounds just about right.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Very true…

  9. Laurie @ RelevantObscurity

    I can’t <3 this post enough. I will be turning your double digits in less than two weeks and like you, I am embracing the life long "twisty turny" changes and I now accept them as normal. While there is still so much to learn and to do, there are a few projects to stay with and complete. Thank you for articulating what many of us feel.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hi Laurie, I’m relieved to hear it **did** come off as ‘articulate’! HA!
      Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy Holiday Season.

  10. marissthequilter

    Hello my punny friend. Just wanted to tell you that I am looking at the bright Christmas Star in the clear sky over Hogsback as I write this on the shortest night for us here on the southern tip of Africa

    • laura bruno lilly

      To think, we saw/see the same thing – up in the sky that covers us all. Different times, but still the same…Thanks for your ‘winter solstice happiness update’

  11. Marty

    Love the self-permission here. Great post, Laura. In response to someone recently, I used the phrase “Pilgrim’s Progress” to explain my thought process in whatever covid-inspired rumination that was running through my brain. But I really like the Hero’s Journey metaphor instead. It sort of captures our current time, doesn’t it? Well done. I do hope you share your musical creations in some forum. – Marty

    • laura bruno lilly

      Self-permission has been a biggie for me lately…happy to share that concept with you, too!
      Thanks for your interest in my musical creations, Marty – will keep that in mind.

  12. L. Marie

    Go, Laura, go!!! I’m all about the hero’s journey! We aren’t too old to undertake it, with God’s help! You’ve got this! Go, go, go!!!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I can just see you cheering me on, L. Marie…it’s a sweet visual. Won’t you join me?

  13. Laura

    The struggle is real, and the struggle seems to lie mostly within (although I love to blame the without). I hit the 6-4 last week (will you still love me). I didn’t care to celebrate, but the fam was wonderful!

    May your journey on Route 6-6 be fantastic as you rediscover yourself and allow you to be you! 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Happy 64th! It seems your fam answered that classic question with a resounding ‘yes’…so hold that happiness close.
      Thanks for ‘getting it’. I think we Lauras can be quite the ‘angsty’ ones from time to time.

  14. Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections

    In life, balance is important – maybe even the key. When one aspect becomes consuming at the expense of other aspects of the balance. It happens to every one of us, but the question is how do we rebalance life during crazy times. On the day of the longest night, your reflection is a way. Good for you – and cheers for music being your muse. Great song, too. … and a bit of music for you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re right, Frank, balance is key. The music you suggested in your comment is timely, thank you.
      BTW: I noticed you featured Nat King Cole on your post, too!

  15. marissthequilter

    Your post has struck such a chord (pardon the pun). Thank for this honest questioning. If I may, my answer is it is never too late. We MUST live until we die and the most vibrant way to feel alive is to create. So go girl!
    I have a philosopher friend who taught and showed me the importance of playing (as in having fun). There’s a significant pun for you.
    I think that it is when one is enjoying oneself that process becomes all important and the wish for a product recedes. But you have said that!
    So all strength and joy to you dear Laura

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh Mariss, we are punny friends, aren’t we?! I am amazed that even with our different slices of ‘english’ the puns run recognizable!
      Thanks for the cheering on – and keep on keepin’ on.

  16. Jane's Heartsong

    I am 66 too! I remember that I liked painting a few years ago, and good enough to sell some. That is where my focus went and it killed it. This is the first year that I haven’t sold my cards with photos on them, except for some I had already done. It doesn’t bother me one little bit, in fact it is a bit of a relief. I wish you well on the creative journey. Whatever you do, don’t give up cause it feeds our soul. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may the new year be healthier.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Jane, over the years I’ve discovered you and I share several similarities…and so it comes as no surprise to me about our shared birth-year!
      And you’re right about feeding the soul…I’d gotten quite cranky of late and ya know? It was my soul saying, “I’m hungry!”
      peace always

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