What’s Your Third Act Going To Be Like?
The idea of the “third act” was made popular by Jane Fonda, when she gave a Ted Talk, and lots of other people have talked about it since then. She says that since we are living about 34 years longer than our grandparents, it’s as though we have been gifted with another lifetime; a third act.
You can see Jane’s presentation here (11 minutes 20 seconds).
Isn’t that inspiring? I love how she describes the third act; it’s a longevity revolution, an opportunity to age as potential instead of pathology.
We know that positive people live longer than negative people. And, we understand that people who have strong relationships live longer and tend to be more positive than people who are alone (or lonely). Hmm. Food for thought here.
Of course, being alone or lonely can be even harder for folks who are divorced or widowed. They are alone, and that could naturally position them to become lonely or negative, even if they were positive people, right?
Instead, what if the Third Act was a time for rejuvenation and renewal? A time to explore our own potential, well-being, and happiness instead of deteriorating and sliding into obscurity sounds good to me!
That’s what happened to a woman we’ll call Barb, after Barb’s Dad died. Barb’s mom, Annette, was lonely, sad, and always seemed angry after Adam died. Adam had been Annette’s one true love, and he was obviously a positive balancing force in their marriage. He was especially helpful to Annette after he retired, including helping her to manage her advancing arthritis. After he passed away, Annette was left with a huge garden to attend to, a house that was too big for just one person. She resented the changes, missed Adam fiercely, and became miserable.
Barb encouraged her mom to sell the family house, and move from a neighbourhood where she was almost always alone, into a seniors’ residence. Annette resisted for a months, arguing that she didn’t want to leave the place where she had so many memories. Eventually, though, she admitted that looking after things on her own was simply too much. She sold her home, and has hardly looked back since she moved into her new place.
“Honey, I have to call you back,” Annette often says when Barb calls nowadays. “I’m off to play cards.” Or take an exercise class, or volunteer to teach her new neighbours how to knit. She keeps her calendar filled as much as she wants to, without time to feel lonely, or dwell on her arthritis.
“I miss Adam everyday,” she says, “and sometimes I feel a little guilty when Barb calls and I have something else to do. But I decided I’d better live life and make the most out of it. I’m one of those people that could be alive for another thirty years. I’m not going to waste it.”
At Elder Move Inc., we help people to organize, downsize, move, pack, and unpack. If you’d like some more information, get in touch with us here.