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Exploring a New Horizon

by Barbara Anne Radtke

The story behind Billy Joel’s new song, written several decades after his decision to quit composing popular tunes, provides a life lesson in exploring our horizonsA younger musician, Freddie Wexler, wrangled an introduction to Joel in order to ask him for one more song.  Wexler, who is also a music producer and composer interested in using AI, prevailed upon Joel to collaborate on a new tune.  The result not only was the song “Turn the Lights Back On” but also an ingenious video. In the process, Joel also gained a new attitude about writing, collaborating with a new generation of musicians, and producing a song’s official video. In more than one interview or article, he indicates his openness to working again in this new musical landscape he has discovered.

There are many stories about people in their seventh, eighth, and ninth decade discovering a new horizon.  For example, on a recent show about the environment, I earned that Margory Stoneman Douglas ended a career as a journalist to pursue her interest in preserving the Florida everglades.

“Exploring a New Horizon” may sound like a strange companion to my earlier blog entry “Finding Your Limits,” but they are actually closely related.  Let’s use an example from drawing in perspective to show how.

If we look at little kids’ drawings, we find that, at some point in time, they made a wonderful discovery -- the horizon, the place where the sky meets the earth.  

 It turns a picture like this:

Into one something like this:

Just like an artist composes her drawing, we find a horizon in life and compose our lives based on that horizon.

Yet we still do not have a three dimensional perspective.  For that we need to imagine our station point, or a place from which we view the scene. A perspective of the house on the hill would look something like the picture below when the artist established his station point. 


Yes, now we have a three dimensional view.  However, we really do not know what is on the other side of the house or in the other part of the yard we cannot see. In life, our station point might keep us so busy that we never know what the other part of our personal landscape might look like.

Discovering our limits later in life allows us to find a new point from which to explore the horizon. That new life perspective may be the return to something we loved like composing music or it can be a new discovery like advocacy for the local environment.  A paradox of later life is that our horizon may only begin to expand when we acknowledge our new limits. Those new limits help us find the station point for a new perspective on life.

Do you, dear reader, have an example from your own life or from some else’s where the horizon has expanded later in life?


By Kathy Hendricks


Thank you for such an interesting take on the new horizons that can emerge later in life, Barbara. It is a wonderful counterpoint to your last blog on knowing our limits. Balancing the two generates a delicate balance that keeps us from overloading our time while still growing and exploring.

My husband, Ron, is just learning to ski. At 70 it seems like a much-too-late time in his life for such a pursuit and yet he has taken to it with his usual dedication. It helps greatly that we live just 20 minutes away from a ski area. One of his biking partners is a former instructor and she offered free lessons. Coupled with a generous seniors’ pass he is now discovering a passion for something he had little time or access to when he was younger.

The last picture you showed is an invitation to explore what lies on the “other side.” All too often we settle for the same-old view and yet there is much to be seen not only on the other side of the house but also from its right and left sides. Ron is coupling his gift for photography with his new avocation and comes back from a ski run with some gorgeous shots of the mountains taken from a ski lift or the top of a run. It lends new perspective and offers a view he would never have seen before.

I, too, look forward to our readers’ experiences about the views seen from various horizons.


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