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AofA People: Ben Cornish – Juggler, circus performer, workshop leader

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3 Minute Read

How old are you?

 59

Where do you live?

I live in Exmouth in Devon just a 2-3 minutes walk from the beach.

What’s it like to be your age? 

I’m definitely not one of those people who says that I don’t feel any different to how I did when I was 18/25 etc.

I feel like I have always felt the age I am. That said I tend to try and avoid being responsible for anything after years of bringing up children!

Certainly, I am aware of aches, pains & things not working as well as they used to. A few years back I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and then a couple of years later contracted late-onset asthma.

So after 50 years of never being ill or seeing a doctor, my life has changed quite radically.

What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?

Paradoxically, in some ways, I am less opinionated than I was at that age but I am more certain of what I do know now.

I am far more patient now than I was as a young man and yet outraged at more things. For instance, how can so many people in the UK still vote for the bastard Tories? Parking charges, not being able to contact anyone etc

What about relationships?  

I have a smaller circle of friends than back in the day but the depth of those relationships is greater.

How free do you feel? 

I have been self-employed all my adult life and that has resulted in a life with a great deal of freedom.

I still feel free, but with all the restrictions imposed by COVID and the feelings of environmental responsibilities, perhaps less so than in the past.

What are you proud of?

My children. The fact that I have some really long-term relationships with wonderful people. I have never been unfaithful.

I have earned my living (as a comedian, juggler, workshop leader, and circus performer) doing something I enjoy that gives people pleasure. I can still make people laugh.

What keeps you inspired?

I love what I do & feel like I continue to develop my creativity and understand the mechanics of that better than ever.

My partner, Ange, who is a prolific landscape painter, constantly inspires me also. My incredible 90-year-old mother is also an endless source of inspiration and support.

When are you happiest?

Eating delicious food with friends and family. Walking on a beach with Ange. Practicing.

Being at juggling festivals and playing with friends I have known for many years.

Where does your creativity go?

Into my practice and my teaching. Playing the ukulele & trying to write songs & I have just finished writing my first book. It’s called Juggling and the Art of Practice.

What’s your philosophy of life?

Energy & charm will always trump talent.

Always try to create value wherever you are and whatever situation you are in.

My outlook is informed primarily by 25 years of Buddhist practice (Soka Gakkai member for 25 years, now lapsed)

Dabbling in Osho-lead philosophy…spent a month in the Ashram in Pune 6 years ago

Friendship and kindness are the most important things in life.

You can’t take anything with you when you go.

And dying?

See above. I have no real fear of death.

I came very close in August 2019 after a massive asthma attack & at the time, felt that if I hadn’t made it, I wouldn’t have had any regrets.

Are you still dreaming?

My actual dreams are rarely remembered. I have never really had much ambition.Are there still things I want to do?

Yes, but are they of burning importance, no. I am largely content in life with what I have, what I am doing & where I’m going.

You can see Ben juggling here – https://www.facebook.com/benjuggler/videos/10214707312781883

www.circusberercus.co.uk

About Advantages of Age

Challenging the media narrative around ageing, Advantages of Age has been created to celebrate being over 45. So if you feel that getting older has its benefits and want to be inspired by what you read, sign up and get involved. We welcome submissions.

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