Transitions and Third Act
“The future ain’t what it used to be.” – Yogi Berra –
“Oh, my God. What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65 or 75, and you never got your novel or memoir written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools or oceans because your thighs were jiggly or you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. – Anne Lamott –
There is a deep river flowing within each and every one of us. Deep, deep in the river, in the unknowable depths, is a current that drives us all. It is the unrecognized current of the impact of your history, your culture, your family and relationships and your life experiences. Unseen, it pulls you along, causing you to drift in one direction or another, always at the heart of your choices and actions, at the heart of what you see or believe as possible for yourself. This river current is your unseen, unrecognized default reaction to life. Until it is brought to light, distinguished for what it is, as merely an interpretation of what is possible, it creates your “default self”, with only a limited part of the world, with all its possibilities, available to you. The devil is in the default of the drift. The devil is the voice whispering in your ear, whispering about the danger, whispering about the should, whispering about what you can’t do, whispering about what you aren’t good enough to do. The devil is in the drift, designed to keep you safe and secure, risk-free. Only by exposing the drift, and distinguishing its grip on you, can you begin to experience true freedom to choose, to create, to “be” your glorious self in a new and powerful way.
What do you really, really want? What is the gift that you are that you are afraid to give? Do you have the courage to not live the life that is expected of you? How and where will you find that courage? What is more important to you than your fear?
“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it, and find out the truth about who you are.” – Anne Lamott –
Wikipedia: “The third act features the resolution of the story and its subplots. The climax is the scene or sequence in which the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered, leaving the protagonist and other characters with a new sense of who they really are.”
Well, here you are, maybe somewhat by surprise. You’ve raised your family, had your career, made your money, and many mistakes. You’ve lived your dreams, or you haven’t, but for sure you’ve had joy and heartache, uncontrollable laughter and crushing tragedy. You’ve gained wisdom and compassion and maybe new passions.
Most cultures say you’re done. They say, in the infamous words of Mark Zuckerberg (which he will come to regret), “young people are just smarter.” Not so, my boy! It’s time for the “coolest generation” to change the world again, to change the conversation about age and wisdom and energy and experience and gray hair and wrinkles. We’re not done yet. Not even close.
This is it. This is the Third Act, where you bring together everything you’ve learned, all the wisdom you’ve gained through the years of living. And you can, if you dare, put it together to create the most powerful, exciting time of your life. You can put aside everything that has stopped you in the past, rediscover your passions or find new ones, eliminate the unnecessary, celebrate the good and joyful, and make this so-called “old age” really count as the very best time of your life so far. Examine what has stopped you in your life, where you haven’t dared, where you have given up on old (or new) dreams, and what ignites your passion now. Discover the gifts you bring forward from your life experience, and how to use your gifts with power and satisfaction. This is the Third Act. Make it greater than you ever imagined possible. You have only your greatest life to gain. Fear? That’s for young people. Courage. That’s what life teaches. Find it, break the rules, own your life.