One of the themes in my upcoming book titled 'Few Regrets' is about Act Three. The theory is we are blessed with three acts in life if we are lucky, healthy and have the means to enjoy them. Act One is our youth, from the day we are born until age thirty, on average. Our childhood, teen years, college, and early career are in this chapter. We make life long friends at an innocent time of our lives that we compare against and hopefully remain in touch.
Act Two is from age thirty to sixty, again on average. This is our adult chapter where we we become responsible people (hopefully) with new burdens and new ways to find happiness. We earn money, save money, raise a family, and grow into the people we hope to be. Some of our dreams from Act One are fulfilled yet we realize other dreams weren't really what we wanted. We adapt to life changes, for example children have a way of altering our trajectory, and we keep going.
Act Three, if we are lucky, lasts from around age sixty to ninety+. With six decades on this earth, at the onset of our last chapter, we can look back on a life well lived, learn lessons from our mistakes, from our successes, from our friends and family. We can be a bit more carefree in our outlook realizing the ticking clock has been there all along, but is perhaps a bit louder than it used to be. With the kids grown, out of the house and off the payroll, we have the freedom we once had back in Act One. We move to the ocean or the mountains or a different country; or we stay home where we have always lived. We make choices about where and how we want to live and who we want to spend our time with.
Each of us writes our chapters, our act one, two and three. Sure, sometimes it feels that another person has the pen and pushes us in a direction we had not intended. But in reality, most of us have the pen and we choose how to write our life story. It's never in pencil, there's no eraser, no do-overs, no mulligans. Each act occurs once. The days might go by slowly at times, yet the years and the decades do indeed fly at a much faster pace, certainly in hindsight.
I'm at the beginning of my Act Three and it's begun with a few sparks, a lot of excitement, some new challenges and great fun. We chose to live near the mountains and I was on a long plane ride for my 60th. A trip to New Zealand, number one on the bucket list. I didn't plan on to leap off that bridge but did it anyway and survived! The wines, the sights, the environment, the youthful feeling around that impressive island beat my high expectations. Just go is my advice. Just go. Peel off #1 on your list and put it in the rearview mirror then move on to #2. Two chapters are behind us, there's one to go and the pen is definitely in my hand. I hope it's solidly in your grasp too.
I like to read and write stories that dig deep into characters and how they respond to challenges.