A friend of mine was a professional ship model maker. Unlike many who might repine because of a lack of work. He fretted and complained about too much work. At seventy-five, he may have had cause to complain. After all, your output is limited by the available years that you are capable of working. Many of his competitors ran from show to show and placed ads in every journal and magazine to scare up work. They would have loved some of his commissions. So there was lots of admiration and respect. But sometimes just a bit of envy,
As a nautical carver, I, too, was in this “watery” community of people rendering boats for a living. But my compositions cost a fraction of theirs.
Their work was intensely detailed and needed to be contained in clear glass cases to protect them from dust`. Their owners developed phobias thinking about what the attentions of leaping kittens and children would do to their precious. Mine sat on tables as trays or walls as portraits, and aside from significant drops, were immune to cats and children. But, I, too, found myself a bit envious when my stream of commissions went dry, and he was lamenting the backup on his workbench.
Eventually, he became very fussy about commissions and then began to turn them outright down. Then, at last, he mentioned that he was working on his last ship.
Seeing that he was in his eighties and still vigorous – not the sort to set into a rocking chair at all – I asked him what he was going to do with his time? ” Finish the restoration of my 1929 Rolls Royce.”
I do not have a Rolls Royce, and I find my carving still inspirational, but like him, I’ve found myself moving beyond interests in life and on to others. As he did, I’ll have to learn to move on when the time comes. Getting older is not for the cowardly, and as George Burns said “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”